By The Nation
His wife received a 25-year jail term while his two sons were given death sentences.
Laota, his wife and two sons were arrested at a petrol station in Chiang Mai’s Mae Ai district late last year in sting operation, in which 500,000 “yaba” amphetamine pills and 31.8 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine were seized.
Laota, 77, his wife, Asama Seanlee, 67, and their two sons, Wicharn Seanlee, 41, and Baramee Barameekuakoolsup, 38, were taken to the court at 9am accompanied by another suspect who was arrested with them, Rapikarn Pophetchalak, 57.
Asama was initially given a life sentence but the court commuted the sentence to 25 years because she pleaded guilty. The court also ordered Laota and his wife to pay Bt2.5-million fines each.
The court convicted Rapikarn of distributing drugs and sentenced him to life imprisonment and a fine of Bt5 million.
The couple’s two sons, Wicharn, and Baramee, who were both carrying guns when they were arrested, were sentenced to death.
After hearing the sentences, all of the defendants filed appeals.
Laota is a former village headman who was reportedly close to the deceased Khun Sa. He was previously arrest for allegedly possessing heroin with the intent to sell, but he was acquitted by a court. He was later tried by the Fang provincial court on a murder charge but was again acquitted.
Drug enforcement authorities had been keeping a close watch on him until they arrested him in Chiang Mai late last year.