Nine arrested for possessing, abusing controlled substances

Three of them have been referred for treatment

Crime: Punakha police detained six men for possessing 20 grams of marijuana hashish.

A taxi driver and five school dropouts were arrested in Khuruthang, Punakha at around 4:30pm on April 10. The men were on their way to Thimphu in a taxi.

Upon interrogation, police found out that the 28-year-old taxi driver and a 31-year-old man travelled from Thimphu to Shengana, Punakha in the morning hours of the same day, to make marijuana hashish.

The Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSAA) 2015 classifies cannabis under schedule I of the Act, describing it as narcotic drug with no medicinal value.

A police official said that the men would be charged for illicit trafficking since the quantity the men possessed exceeded the minimum quantity for illicit trafficking, which is seven grams in case of hashish.

All the six men, aged between 18 and 31 tested positive for marijuana.

“The men were arrested based on our informer’s information,” a police official said.

NDPSSA states that illegal possession of all controlled narcotics and psychotropic substances could result in an offence of misdemeanor if the quantity is less than the limit determined in the Act but fails to produce a prescription from a registered physician for licit use.

However, illicit trafficking such as possession, imports, exports, stores, sales, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies would land a prison term of a first to a fourth degree felony depending on the quantity, according to the Act.

On the same day, at around 2:30pm, Phuentsholing police arrested three teenagers near the Rinchending check-post for abusing controlled substances.

Two 16-year-old boys and a 19-year-old man were roaming around and asking for a lift near the check-post.

Police said that the men looked suspicious so the men were frisked.

Police found two nitrosun 10 (N10) tablets and six spasmo-proxyvon (SP) from the men. All three tested positive for marijuana and benzodiazepines (controlled pharmaceutical drugs).

The men are charged only for illicit abuse as the quantity they possessed are within the minimum quantity for illicit trafficking, the police official said.

Section 42 of the NDPSAA states that a defendant convicted for misdemeanor and below shall undergo compulsory treatment and rehabilitation programme. All the three men were sent to the Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority for treatment yesterday.

Dechen Tshomo

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