NONG KHAI – Criminal Court in northeastern Thailand has sentenced a 26-year-old woman to life in prison for smuggling 5,731 cartoon-shaped ecstasy pills from the Netherlands while two other defendants were acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
Ampika Patitang, 26, of Nong Khai province; Wararat Chanthamas, 26, of Bangok; and Mr Songpon Thamiya, 34, of Nonthaburi, were taken to the court to hear the verdict on Thursday.
Prosecutors charged them with colluding in the smuggling of ecstasy pills into the country and illegal possession of the drugs.
Ampika and Ms Wararat were apprehended at Suvarnabhumi airport on March 8 last year, with 5,731 cartoon-shaped ecstasy pills, weighing 2.6kg, in their possession. The drugs were hidden in boxes containing animal feed. The third defendant was later caught at the airport on March 11.
Ampika, the first defendant, earlier confessed to the charges while the two other defendants denied them. During the court trial, they had not been granted bail.
Two police who made the arrest testified before the court that they had arrested another woman, identified only as Luk Ked, with some ecstasy pills in her possession. The woman was questioned and implicated Ampika in the drug trade. Luk Ked bought the drugs from Ampika via the Line chat application. The messages showed the defendant told the woman that she would bring ecstasy pills from the Netherlands to sell in Thailand.
During the police interrogation, Ampita admitted she and the two other defendants had jointly purchased ecstasy pills in the Netherlands for sale in the country. She and Ms Wararat had invested 100,000 baht each while Mr Sompon had invested 80,000 baht.
The Criminal Court found Ampika guilty of smuggling the drugs into the country and having drugs in possession with intent to sell. It initially handed down a death sentence on her but commuted it to life in prison because she confessed.
The court gave Ms Wararat and Mr Songpon the benefit of the doubts and acquitted them of the charges. It said there was no other evidence linking them to the drug trade except Ampika’s tesimony.