Thimphu dzongkhag court’s criminal bench II sentenced a 25-year-old man to three years and six months in prison for illicit trafficking of 13 capsules of SP+ and illegal possession of 4gms of cannabis.

Tashi Tobgay from Tali in Nangkhor, Zhemgang, was given a concurrent sentencing for the two offences. He was arrested on August 11 last year with the controlled substances.

Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged him to court on September 11, stating that the defendant brought the 13 capsules of SP+ and cannabis from Jaigaon in India.

The charges stated that since he neither had a permit nor a prescription, he should be liable for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and its illegal possession as per the Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act of Bhutan 2015.

Tashi Tobgay contended before court that he brought the SP+ and cannabis for his own consumption and not for selling and distributing.

The December 19, 2016 judgment stated that since the case surfaced after the Supreme Court verdict passed on July 26, 2017, which allowed those involved in SP+ case to pay thrimthue in lieu of prison term, the defendant was liable for violating NDPSSA Act 2015.

It also stated that Tashi Tobgay was guilty of violating section 139 (2) of the NDPSSA Act 2015, which states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances if he possesses, imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributed or supplies any substances under schedule III and IV of the Act.

The judgment stated that the crime is graded a fourth-degree felony according to section 141 (2) of the Act.

He was also given a petty misdemeanour sentence for illegal possession of cannabis.

The court ordered the police and OAG to surrender the seized controlled substances to relevant organisations as per section 180 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code (CCPC) of Bhutan and section 47 of the Penal Code of Bhutan and submit the report to the court.

Tashi Dema