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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
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The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

21 Malaysian 'drug mules' face death penalty in Thai court

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
The 21 Malaysians arrested in Thailand recently on suspicion of being 'drug mules' could face the death penalty under the country's Narcotics Act for possession and sale of Category 1 Substances.

"The suspects can face the death penalty following the large seizure of methamphetamine ('ice') and heroin from them. The police, on their part, have obtained strong evidence against them.

"However, despite the possibility of facing the maximum sentence of death under the stipulated charge, Thai courts seldom hand down the death penalty and prefer the long-term jail sentence, instead," he told Bernama on Sunday.

On March 23 and 24, the Malaysians, in 2 groups of 15 and 6 men were arrested by Thai Railway police at 4 different train stations and in a passenger van.

Seized from them were 226kg of methamphetamine and 8kg of heroin kept in backpacks.

The train they were travelling in was enroute to Butterworth from Hualamphong, Bangkok.

Thai police have described the drug haul as one of the largest confiscated in recent times, which could fetch about RM400mil in Europe.

The Thai police officer also divulged that based on information obtained, there was a link between the Malaysian suspects and a major drug trafficker whose nationality he declined to divulge.

In an interview with Bernama previously, Police Col Puttidej Bunkrapue from the Thai Railway Police said investigations revealed the drug smuggling attempt by the 21 Malaysian suspects was masterminded by 3 men.

The 21 Malaysians are currently under remand at Bangkok's Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts.

Source: Bernama, May 8, 2016

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