Police found smuggling restricted items into prisons

Police found smuggling restricted items into prisons

The lure of money has often led police personnel to smuggle restricted items to prison inmates.

Sources told Business Bhutan that police personnel smuggle drugs, tobacco products, doma and alcohol among others to serving inmates of Thimphu district jail and detention cell in return for clothes or money.

The Officer-In-Charge of Thimphu district jail, Captain Wangda Dorji, accepted the fact that it used to happen in the past but stated that it does not happen anymore.

“Surprise checks are conducted any time of the day or minimum once a month and sometimes based on tip offs,” he said.

There have been incidents when police personnel smuggled in laptops and phones as well. But when caught, they were either suspended or terminated.

Seeking anonymity, a former inmate who served three years in Thimphu district jail for illicit trafficking of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances said that if one has money, it is easy to manipulate the police on duty. “But if you do not have money, you get nothing,” he said.

Another inmate said that one can get a packet of doma from the police on duty for Nu 50. Also bribing police with good quality, branded clothes is common.

Captain Wangda Dorji said that to prevent such occurrences, the police troop is briefed thoroughly about the consequences of such acts.

Also, police personnel who enter the prison are checked and not allowed to carry cell phones. Even visitors are frisked.

“Most of the time, visitors are to be blamed for smuggling restricted items to the inmates. The visitors use various modus operandi to smuggle things such as hiding them inside food and juice. Women even hide restricted goods inside their inner wear. When visitors are caught, they are not punished but instead warned not to repeat such acts.”

“Only a handful of police personnel are involved in such acts but most of the time, it is the visitors who break the rules,” Captain Wangda Dorji added.

The smuggling of restricted goods was discovered after surprise checks inside the jail produced packets of tobacco and other stuff.

If such acts are caught, an enquiry takes place and a committee formed makes recommendations on which the verdict for punishment is based and passed.

Today, there are 112 inmates in Thimphu District jail. Convicts sentenced for five years and below are kept at the district jail.

Chencho Dema from  Thimphu