Drugs smuggling cases in Samdrupjongkhar have reduced compared to past years, according to police.

Police claimed that there are few drugs-related cases in Samdrupjongkhar and the cases are all registered as drug abuse and not illicit trafficking. The abusers and smugglers bring drugs from Jaigaon in West Bengal, India.

Police officials said the cases reduced after they formed drugs squad team on June 25, 2018, as the team conducted door-to-door awareness and installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the vulnerable areas in collaboration with the thromde.

Officials said that they also visited pharmaceutical shops across the border to see who are involved in the drugs business. “We informed our counterparts in India about the misuse of pharmaceutical products being sold to Bhutanese.”

They said police carry out frequent patrolling along the border areas and conduct inspection twice a week along the highway as Samdrupjongkhar is the gateway to eastern Bhutan, adding that they also conduct a surprise inspection.

Police also formed a team called clean Samdrupjongkhar, who gives counselling to drug abusers. The team forwarded more than 80 abusers to the drop-in centre at Bhutan Narcotic Control Authority (BNCA) for counselling.

Officials said drugs-related cases in Samdrupjongkhar is less as drugs squad and other teams conduct inspection effectively, adding that the less population in the dzongkhag is also an advantage for them to control such issues.

As per the record police maintained, police arrested about 82 suspects- 76 Bhutanese and six non-Bhutanese involved in drug cases from 2017 to April 26 this year. Of the 82 suspects, 20 were high school students.

Police detained 11 suspects- nine Bhutanese and two non-Bhutanese, who were sent to the drop-in centre at BNCA as they were all abusers. About six drug cases were registered with police since January until yesterday.

The record stated that police arrested 65 suspects and registered 28 drugs-related cases in 2018. Of the 65 suspects, 62 were Bhutanese and three non-Bhutanese. Police also arrested two suspects involved in marijuana smuggling last year.

Officials said the school dropout students were the highest involved in the drug abuse cases followed by unemployed youth, adding that few civil servants and private employees were also involved. “We will conduct an awareness programme on ill effects and consequences of drug use and abuse,” an official said.

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupjongkhar