Drugs finding its way into the country despite pandemic and border closure

Eight pieces of SP+ were sold for Nu 1,200

Despite the country’s borders being closed since March 23, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and strict surveillance put in place, large quantities of illegal drugs are still finding its way into the country.

Based on information from one of their informants on April 17, Punakha police arrested four men in possession of Spasmoproxyvon Plus (SP+) and hashish at different places in Punakha.

A total of 287 pieces of SP+ and 12 pieces of hashish were recovered from the four men, aged between 21 and 32 years. Two are businessmen and two are first year students, who have returned from India and Australia due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, Punakha police maintained that the seizure of 287 pieces of SP+ from the three suspects is just tip of the iceberg.

“There could be more such drugs in possession across the country, only we are not aware of it. The question is how they managed to get and smuggle in the drugs despite tight surveillance,” said a police official.

The police official said they are investigating the case and that they will try to find out the source of the drugs.

“It is not only illegal to possess drugs, but it also poses risk of bringing in the virus if it is smuggled from across the borders. People should refrain from indulging into such activities,” the police official said.

Meanwhile, on April 17 at around 6 pm, an informer informed to the Punakha police that a man was acting suspiciously at the Zamdong (view point) in Guma gewog. When he was searched, they discovered 20grams of hashish neatly hidden in a plastic bag.

On investigation, the 25-year-old was found to be a resident of Khuruthang from Balam gewog in Mongar and a businessman.

A multi-drug test was conducted on the suspect, who tested positive for SP+ and THC (marijuana).

Although as of now he has been charged with trafficking in cannabis and its derivatives, police are investigating to find out where he got the SP+ for consumption.

On the same day, two first year students who had returned to Bhutan from abroad and India due to the ongoing pandemic were arrested by police in Toeb Rongchu, Barp gewog, while travelling in a private car.

Police seized 144 pieces SP+ from them and both tested positive for THC (marijuana).

The 21-year-old is from Yoeseltse gewog in Samtse, while the other is 24 years old and from Talo gewog in Punakha.

In the statement to the police, the two suspects stated that they were asked by a friend of them to collect the parcel from a man named Dorji (name changed) and that they had nothing to do with the drugs it contained. During the search, police found the SP+ was concealed in a plastic bag.

Then, on April 20, Punakha police were informed about the arrival of Dorji in Punakha based on the message from one of the informants. He was stopped by the traffic personnel at Khuruthang checkpoint, where upon searching his car and palpating his body, the police found 143 pieces of drugs (SP+) hidden in his inner clothes.

He was then immediately taken into custody and then made to undergo a multi-drug test. He tested positive for THC (marijuana) and SP+.

The 32-year-old suspect is a businessman from Tsakaling gewog in Mongar and a Thimphu resident.

In the statement to the police, the suspect said that the drugs were bought four years ago and refused divulging further information. Police are investigating the case.

Business Bhutan learnt that eight pieces of SP+ were sold for Nu 1,200, which means that one capsule would cost Nu 150. A joint (hashish joint) would cost Nu 1,500 a stick depending on the size.

Chencho Dema from Punakha