Anti-drug police of the General Department of Police under the Ministry of Public Security, in cooperation with relevant authorities, have arrested Khonepasong Soukkaseum, alias Xiengtheu, a drug lord they claim is bigger than transnational drug kingpin Xaysana Keophimpha.
Mr Khonepasong, 47, Lao national living in Vientiane, was arrested along with three associates on Jan 10, 2017, nine days before Mr Xaysana was arrested along with three countrymates in Bangkok, Thailand after escaping an attempted arrest by Lao police.
Other associates of Xaysana were arrested in Khammuan and Vientiane on Jan 20, a press conference was told on Wednesday by Pol. Brig. Thonglek Mangnomek, Director of the General Department of Police, Ministry of Public Security.
Khonepasong and Xaysana are among five drug kingpins the police have arrested since Sep 16, 2016.
The other three networks include Mr Kinoy Phaxay, nicknamed Aenoy or Noy-akad, a 34-year-old Lao national and resident of Akad village, Sikhottabong, Vientiane, arrested along with 16 associates on Sep 16, 2016; a Lao couple Mr Vath Philabanh, 41 years of age and Mrs Keo Philabanh, also known as Kew, a 39 year old (both are residents of Bokeo Province) arrested Dec 11, 2016; and Mr Khonethai Khotsombath, known as Sew, a Lao resident of Lakmeuang village, Songkhone district, Savannakhet Province, arrested along with two other associates on Jan 24, 2017.
On Feb 14, 2017 police officers detained people who had tried to bribe police officers in exchange for the release of the arrested drug lords for 30 million Thai baht (almost US$860,000) per drug lord. They offered to pay 10 million baht in advance and 20 million baht after the drug lord was released.
Since the police operation made on Sep 16, 2016, police officers have arrested 33 people involved in the drug trade and seized various kinds of drugs, weapons, cash in several currencies, jewelry, and frozen assets including houses, hotels, markets, restaurants, furniture factories, warehouses, car garages, apartments, gas stations, and cars among others.