THE FACEBOOK account of Xaysana Keopimpha, an alleged drug warlord who was arrested in Bangkok last month, shows only sporadic activity, with his latest post being an update of his profile photo on December 19.
However, the few photos that he has posted on Facebook would raise eyebrows, including selfies taken with luxury cars such as Lamborghinis and Mercedes-Benzes, which appear to have been taken at his house in Laos.Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network
In other photos, he is shown with people surrounded by more luxury vehicles, including one in which he is sitting on one of the cars wearing a sleeveless T-shirt showing tattoos on both arms.
Xaysana was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport in front of many travellers on January 19 after police were tipped off that he and three other people were flying in from Phuket.
Police said the arrest was the culmination of a five-year investigation into a drug network allegedly operated by Xaysana, which police said distributed drugs in northeastern Thailand, Laos and other ASEAN countries including Malaysia and Singapore.
The network is believed to be bigger than that allegedly operated by Laota Sanli, who was arrested in October and is accused of also distributing drugs in northern Thailand.
Xaysana, known in Laos as Hia Lop, was born in Khammouane province of Laos, opposite Nakhon Phanom's Ta Uten district in Thailand.
He moved to Vientiane and ran a sawmill factory that reportedly earned him a lot of money, and he eventually established himself as a member of the "new rich" in Lao high society.
Social network users have been accustomed to seeing photos of Xaysana posing with the country's celebrities and young family members of politicians.
He was also a familiar face in Thailand because he helped to organise Thailand-Laos joint events.
In Vientiane, he was also a frequent visitor to cock-fighting gambling dens and owned his own stable of fighting roosters.
A source said the wide-ranging drug network Xaysana allegedly operated was protected by influential police and politicians, enabling him to run a lucrative business for years.
Pol Lt-General Sommai Kongwisaisuk, the commissioner of Thailand's anti-drugs agency, said Xaysana had contacted distributors via the chat app Line, using codes to prevent the messages from being intercepted.
Xaysana allegedly used his luxury cars to smuggle drugs, which reportedly deterred police from conducting thorough searches.