She Busted Thai Drug Ring, but Still Must Go

     CHICAGO (CN) – A Thai woman who was extradited to the United States to face drug charges cannot avoid deportation after having helped authorities catch alleged narcotic traffickers in her native country.
     After being extradited to the United States, Vatcharee Pronsivakulchai wrote letters to aid the Drug Enforcement Administration’s investigation of the Thai drug trade. In exchange for her services, the charges against her were dismissed.
     But Pronsivakulchai sought cancellation of removal under the Convention Against Torture, asserting that she should not be sent back to Thailand since she has a reasonable fear of persecution from the drug ring whose members she incriminated.
     This is the second time Pronsivakulchai’s case has come before the 7th Circuit. In 2006, an immigration judge found Pronsivakulchai removable because she had been a drug trafficker in Thailand prior to her arrival in the United States.
     The 7th Circuit ruled that the immigration judge had denied Pronsivakulchai the opportunity to present evidence in her own defense.
     On remand, the judge again declared Pronsivakulchai removable. Evidence against her included testimony of a DEA officer, a Royal Thai police officer, arrest warrants in both countries and her own earlier testimony admitting to engaging in drug deals.
     The 7th Circuit affirmed Monday, saying the new proceedings were procedurally fair.
     “The outcome of this case follows the Latin phrase ‘dura lex, sed lex’ – the law is hard, but it’s the law,” Judge William Bauer wrote for a three-judge panel. “While we are sympathetic, the evidence produced at a full and fair hearing squarely links her to the serious crime of drug trafficking, barring her from the relief she seeks in this matter.”

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