The Chukha dzongkhag court altered the charges against a businessman and sentenced him to five years in prison for trafficking 352 capsules of Spasmoproxyvon Plus (SP+) and sent him to rehabilitation for three months for 18 tables of Nitrosun 10 (N10) last month.

The May 22 judgment stated that Ugyen Dorji, 36, from Jyenkana in Haa, should also be given a month long counselling. It stated that the rehabilitation and counselling should be done while serving the five years imprisonment.

Police in Tanalum apprehended Ugyen Dorji based on a tip-off on February 10 this year with the controlled substances concealed in a black plastic in his car. He was travelling from Phuentsholing to Thimphu.

Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged the businessman for violating the Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSSA) 2015 on March 6 this year.

The court ruled that although Ugyen Dorji violated section 139 (2) of the NDPSSA 2015 for the N10 and was liable for three to five years imprisonment according to section 142 (2) of the Act, the defendant also violated section 141(A) of the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (Amendment) Act of Bhutan 2018.

“So the court changed the charges according to section 187.3 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan 2001.”

The judgment stated that Ugyen Dorji admitted that the controlled substances were brought for his own consumption.

In the amended NDPSSA Act of Bhutan 2018, a new section is inserted after section 141 as 141A with an explanation, which states, “Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, a person possessing equal to or less than two times the quantity determined in Schedule VII of this Act shall be liable for offence of substance abuse under Section 152 of this Act in lieu of the offence of illicit trafficking, provided all of the following conditions are present: (1) The substance in possession is Cannabis and its derivatives or a substance under Schedule III or IV of this Act; (2) Tested positive for the substance in possession; (3) No past criminal record related to illicit trafficking of controlled drugs or substances; and (4) Absence of proof against illicit trafficking.”

Ugyen Dorji was sent to five years in prison for the 352 capsules of SP+. The crime was graded a third-degree felony with prison term ranging from five years to nine years.

The judgment stated that since the defendant did not have a prior criminal record, he was sentenced to five years.

It also stated that since Ugyen Dorji served 26 nights in detention after his arrest on February 10 until he got bail, he will have to serve the remaining four years 11 months and 4 nights.

Staff reporter