Surprise inspections on highways seizes controlled substances in large quantities

Photo Courtesy : Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency
Photo Courtesy : Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency

The officials of Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency (BNCA), Royal Bhutan police (RBP) Customs and Royal Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) in a jointl surprise inspection on 22 March  this year seized large quantities of numerous banned substances.

Fines and penalties  were also imposed on the defaulters.

According to a BNCA news release, the inspection was aimed at ensuring public compliance for NDPSSA Act 2005 and the Tobacco Control Act 2010 and also to create public awareness on the prevention of illicit trafficking of controlled substances.

In the one-day surprise inspection carried out by the authorities starting from 10 am in the morning till 5:30 pm in the evening officials were delegated to locations in different highways such as Kamichu and Damchu.

Vehicles plying along Phuntsholing, Paro, Punakha and Wangduephodrang highways were stopped and inspected mainly to assess and intercept illicit trafficking of Narcotic drug, psychotropic substances and tobacco products.

The news release says a team of officials were deployed in Kamichu for inspecting vehicles coming from Gelephu and Sarpang headed to different destinations particularly Punakha and Wangdue while another set of officials were stationed at Damchu for inspecting vehicles coming from Phuntsholing and bound for Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.

In addition, the officials at Damchu were assisted by one canine sniffer dog from the RBP to detect Narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and tobacco products.

Stopping all vehicles such as public transports like passenger buses, taxis and also private light-vehicles, the officials at different locations conducted a thorough inspection of baggage that came inside the vehicles.  But the inspection of loaded trucks could not be done. This according to the officials was not possible due to lack of proper loading and unloading facilities. Lack of manpower and limited time was also attributed to exclusion of the heavy vehicles for inspection.

The offences detected on the day were mostly smuggling of tobacco products which lead to imposition of fines. The smuggled products were seized on the spot. One of the traffickers was also charge-sheeted to court by Wangduephodrang police.

At the end of the day, officials collected fines amounting to Nu 119,000 from fines imposed of Nu 500 in each incident to smokers caught in non-smoking areas and Nu 10,000 each to those bringing in permissible type of tobacco products.

The inspection team detected 11 incidents of people smoking in non-smoking areas, the fines imposed of which amounted to Nu 5,500 and two incidents of permissible type of tobacco products being brought in, collecting fines of Nu 20,000. In total, the Kamichu inspection team collected Nu 25, 500.

While the team in Damchu collected Nu 23,500 after having apprehended 47 people smoking in non-designated areas. In addition, they also detected seven cases of ‘permissible type of tobacco’ carriers, resulting in collection of Nu 70,000 as fine imposed. In total, Nu 93,500 was collected.

The BNCA release stated such inspections will be carried out in other places from time to time and the provision of the Acts will be imposed firmly. “No one will be excused,” said one of the BNCA officials.

The BNCA and its stakeholders in the news release appealed to the general public to refrain from indulging in such illicit activities. They stressed that trafficking of controlled substances is against the provision of the existing laws. Therefore, related prosecution and penalties are better avoided by not coming in conflict with the law.

“As community of a small country, BNCA expects that all responsible citizens to respect the well being of others as much as we respect and care for the well being of those near and dear to us,” stated the release.

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  1. RBP, BNCA, Customs, BAFRA, NA / NC – all are policing agencies however you look at it. Bhutan is truly a police state – it wants all its citizens jailed for doing anything.

    • yes Ama you are right.Bhutan is a policed state to make it look like it is a real GNH country by policing.They catch and fine those poor guys but if they find some big shots bringing those stuff they will silently allow them to pass through,Otherwise how can we see big ass in Thimphu smoking imported brands of cigarettes.

      And as someone has pointed there is no check on military vehicles including IMTRAT.So,why making so much noise here and hareshing public

  2. @Ama
    you can go to Syria to revolt against Policing!

    • @ LAKSAM -makes no sense. sometimes it is wise to be silent  than making nonsense…for the sake of making a stand that you can speak.

  3. Its a good job, they caught and imposed fines on those people who go beyond the rules of the kingdom of bhutan, but the question arise is that , are they confident that those who are plying govt vehicle will not do that la,

    secondly they have to check heavy and medium vehicle since they are the main supplier we doubt, guys plz comment.

  4. Normally Armed Forces vehicles are not subject to checks and scrutiny. It could be these vehicles bringing in the contraband goods.Five years back I happened to travel by IMTRAT one ton vehicle in the East and met one labor getting lift in the same vehicle. We chatted and found out that he was running away from a construction site because the vehicle was not subject to scrutiny at checkpoints. Here we are!

  5. It should be carried out on regular basis, irrespective of any kind of vehicles or any individual for a uniform application of law.


    • @ Tingpa-if you prefer intimidation …why dont you go and settle yourself in one of the states in former soviet unions or russia….there is a better way of doing things than regularly intimidating the private life of a citizen…( this is  a worst solution for a problem, but bhutanese authorities enjoy it because they dont have to exercise their brain much instead exercise their ego.)

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