Briton, 19 on drug charge in Thailand

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The Independent Online

A British teenager was arrested in Thailand on drug trafficking charges after police seized 3,400 Ecstasy tablets.

Michael Connell, 19, of Greater Manchester, was detained on Monday at Bangkok's international airport. The drugs were allegedly found in his travel bag following an X-ray scan.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office confirmed that a British man was arrested in Thailand but further details were not available.

The Customs Department in Thailand said Connell had travelled from Britain to the United Arab Emirates before flying to Bangkok.

He will be detained pending formal trial and if found guilty faces a maximum penalty of death. Generally, death sentences passed on foreigners are commuted ti life imprisonment, on appeal.

Mr Connell's father said his son had left school without qualifications but was a quiet boy who did not drink. He had travelled to Bangkok 12 months ago to visit a friend. "He's no money and I've not lent him any so how the hell he's managed to get over there is beyond me," he told today's Daily Telegraph.

Mr Connell is the youngest Briton to have faced Thailand's tough anti-drug regime since the arrests of Karyn Smith, 17, and Patricia Cahill, 18, in 1990.