The story behind the record breaking drug bust and a supplier in Jaigaon

This year the Narcotic Drug Division of Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in Thimphu made the biggest seizure of drugs so far, with 39,011 of SP+ (Tramadol) capsules seized. Also till August 2,200 individuals have been caught with drugs.

On 30 August 2023, the RBP arrested two men and a woman aged between 26 to 29 years from Yoeselpang Chiwog,Thimphu for illicit trafficking of drugs.

The team intercepted a Bolero pickup truck at Yoeselpang vegetable shed with the driver and a woman. During the examination process, RBP caught the woman throwing out a small pouch which contained five capsules of SP+. The drug was then seized on the spot, and then immediately the police team went to check for drugs at their home that is located 1-2 kms from the Yoeselpang vegetable market. RBP had definite information that the men and the woman were going to distribute the drugs that very night itself.

RBP was able to locate the two carton boxes full of drugs hidden under the loose wooden floor boards of the house. RBP recovered 21 packets of SP+ capsules.

Further, the team started searching the rooms, and in a laundry basket, they found another consignment of 14 packages of SP+ concealed in a bedsheet.

During the interrogation, it was found that the man driving the bolero is a cousin brother of the woman who was helping her and her husband to sell the drugs and receive the drugs for a commission. He tested positive for substance abuse.

According to RBP,  the husband was working in a hotel. Initially, the husband couldn’t be found, but after his wife was caught, the husband also came forward. It was established that both the husband and the wife are the actual owner of the drugs, however, both tested negative for substance abuse, which may indicate that they are solely into selling the drugs and not abusing them.

Upon further interrogation, it was found that the couple received the SP+ from a supplier called Om Prakash in Jaigaon, India who is also a vegetable and dry fish supplier. Om Prakash had managed to smuggle one carton of the drugs for the wife, the one rolled up in the laundry was for the husband, and another carton was for a man residing in Wangduephodrang.

The man in Wangduephodrang has been tracked down in Bajo town and arrested by the Wangduephodrang police division. The man  tested positive on the drug test.

After interrogating him, he also mentioned the same dealer’s name, and that he had purchased the drugs from the same supplier before for sale in Bhutan.

Since the main supplier is from Jaigaon, India, the Narcotic Drugs and Law Enforcement Unit, Thimphu are in communication and has informed the Indian counterparts of the particular individual who has been supplying illicit drugs into the country.

The man had sent the three cartons containing drugs in a DCM load carrier. The driver was traced and caught, and upon thorough interrogation and checking his phone records and details, and interrogating the three individuals caught, the DCM driver was unaware of the content in the carton boxes. The driver tested negative on the drug test.

The Narcotic Drug Division said that anybody carrying or taking in possession of any unidentified consignment has to be very careful. Just because there are hundreds of cartons or loads, and an individual is not involved in any criminal activity, it does not give the individual the immunity from all liability.

“There are lots of our drivers who drive heavy vehicles, like DCM drivers, truck drivers, bolero drivers, taxi drivers, load carrier drivers and individuals who are very innocent people and who are requested by people across the border to deliver loads, but they take things very lightly and accept others request and get in all kinds of trouble.”

According to the illegal transportation of Narcotic Drugs, the person in-charge of any consignment shall be liable of the offence of illegal transportation if an unidentified consignment in his or her conveyance contains controlled drug and substances. Grading shall be offence of first time will be fined equivalent to minimum wage for one year and punching of driving license and seizure of goods.

Offence of second time shall be minimum wage rate of two years, punching of the driving license and seizure of drugs. Third time offence shall be fourth degree felony that is three to five years prison term, which is non-bailable and cancellation of the individuals driving license with the seizure of drugs.

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