Court dismisses drug case against 'Benz Racing'

Court dismisses drug case against 'Benz Racing'

Akarakit "Benz Racing" Worarojcharoendet speaks to the media as he reported to the Criminal Court on May 17, 2017. (File photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to dismiss a case against Akarakit Worarojcharoendet, also known as "Benz Racing", who had been accused of drug trafficking in 2017. The former motor racer was released from prison on Tuesday evening.

The ruling was announced at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in response to a lawsuit filed by prosecutors against Akarakit, 36, and a couple identified as Sansern Rasanont, 41, and Angsuporn Ina, 35, for colluding in drug trafficking and money laundering on May 26, 2017.

Prosecutors claimed that the three individuals, along with other drug dealers, including Nattapon Nakkham, were involved in procuring, possessing and smuggling drugs. They were also accused of managing the finances of Nattapon's drug network.

It was told that investigators confiscated 140,000 meth pills and 19 kilogrammes of crystal meth on Nov 26, 2016. Nattapon was found to have transferred money 53 times to the three defendants’ accounts, totalling 11.07 million baht.

Akarakit, former husband of actress Napapa "Patt" Tantrakul, denied all charges, while two others only admitted money laundering charge.

On Sept 7, 2018, the lower court had sentenced Akarakit and the couple to 24 years in jail on the same charges and fined them 400,000 baht each.

However, the Appeal Court significantly increased Akarakit's prison term to 36 years and eight months, along with a 3.3 million baht fine. The court reduced the jail term of the couple to 22 years and six months and kept the fine at 400,000 baht.

Only Akarakit submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court.

According to the media source, the court deliberated that other defendants did not mention Akarakit's involvement in their testimony, despite statements from narcotic suppression chief and other related police officers regading his connection with drug trade.

The court then gave Akarakit the benefit of the doubt due to skepticism about the evidence proving his collusion with other defendants in drug-related cases.

However, the jail penalty for Akarakit in money laundering-related case still stood as ruled by the Appeal Court, sentencing him to three years and four months in jail.

Having served around four years in incarceration, Akarakit was discharged from the Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts on Tuesday evening, said the source.

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