Smuggler’s Thai sentence reduced

May 1, 2006
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A British man who was caught smuggling more than 3,000 ecstasy tablets into Thailand has had his 99-year prison sentence reduced

Michael Connell, 20, of Bury, Greater Manchester, escaped the death penalty at a Thai court in March 2004 by entering a guilty plea.

He was stopped at Bangkok international airport on 10 November 2003 with 3,400 pills hidden in facial cream jars.

His sentence is now 30 years, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

Connell, who is held at Khlong Prem Prison in Lard Yao, Bangkok, had his sentence reduced on appeal last week, the FCO said.

Debt claim

A spokesman said the appeal verdict also meant that Connell could apply to transfer to a UK jail in 2008.

When he was jailed he was told he had to wait eight years into his jail term until he could make this application but the appeal reduced this time to four years.

At the time of his sentencing, his family believed he had been persuaded to smuggle the drugs to pay off a small debt.

Customs officials found the ecstasy tablets in Connell’s travel bag after they were detected by an X-ray scan at the airport.

The pills had an estimated street value of $85,000 according to the Thai customs department.

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