The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) office in Wangdue seized 794kgs of imported green chillies from Bajo town yesterday.
At least nine vegetable vendors were found to have been involved in illegally importing green chillies, which were hidden in boxes containing cabbages, officials said.
Each vendor was fined ten times the market rate of Nu 50/kg. A total of Nu 397,000 in fines were levied on the nine vendors. The highest fine levied was Nu 100,000 for 200kgs of green chillies and the lowest was Nu 7,500 levied on a vendor who smuggled in 15kgs.
This is the largest quantity of imported chillies seized by BAFRA officials in Wangdue. BAFRA officials have been seizing 5-10kgs of chillies almost every week.
BAFRA officials said they found the chillies while inspecting a truck from which imported vegetables were being offloaded in Bajo yesterday.
BAFRA officials said the vendors will have to pay the fines by March 25.