Four of 12 arrested for smuggling tobacco quarantined

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Four people who were involved in smuggling tobacco products from across the border are quarantined in Samdrupjongkhar. Police arrested 12 people in possession of tobacco. Eight are in police custody.

The four were quarantined as they have crossed the border risking exposure to the new coronavirus while the border remains sealed.

On April 2, while on patrolling, police arrested two women in possession of tobacco products. According to the sources, the duo had asked an Indian to pass the cigarettes over the wall near the Indo-Bhutan friendship park. Police seized 25 packets of cigarettes from the suspects.

Police also arrested a truck driver ferrying grocery items for a shop based in Samdrupjongkhar as he was found carrying tobacco products on April 3 around 6:30pm. Police later arrested his three friends who asked the driver to bring the products.

According to sources, the driver was sent in quarantine as he had stopped along the Indian highway to buy tobacco. “Any vehicles ferrying grocery items are not supposed to stop in India as India was locked down because of Covid-19,” said the source.

Police seized two packets of bidi, 40 packets of chewing tobacco (baba) and a packet of cigarette from him.

Police also arrested two women and a man who were also in possession of tobacco products on the same day around 7:30pm. Sources said that they have asked Indian vegetable suppliers to send tobacco products along with the vegetables.

Police found the products while unloading the vegetables. Police seized 60 packets of baba and 30 packets of cigarettes from them.

Police also arrested three men for trying to cross the border during patrolling around 10:30pm on the same day. The suspects tried to cross the border from Tashi Poktor. “They would be forwarded to the court as they have gone to India after the closure of border gates,” a police source said.

Meanwhile, police patrolling team also found 280 capsules of contraband drugs along the boundary wall around 10:30pm on April 4. Although, the suspects are at large, police suspect it would be for someone to pick it up later as the team found those products when someone threw over the wall from across the border.

Police are investigating the case.

Samdrupjongkhar police, Desuups and other officials are doing round the clock patrolling along the Indo-Bhutan border since the closure of all entry points on March 23.

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