… citing entrapment by police

Tashi Dema

Thimphu police arrested a Paro resident from Chunzom for illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. He was caught with 54 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus (SP+).

Police then forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for prosecution.

OAG, however, returned the case earlier this month. Although OAG refused to comment, it was learnt that the case was returned due to lack of strong evidence for prosecution.

Sources alleged that the case was returned as OAG found police had gathered the evidence illegally and there were elements of entrapment.

Section 86 of the Penal Code of Bhutan states, “A defendant shall have the defence of entrapment, if any person or law enforcement official induces the defendant to commit a crime.”

It was learnt that police first arrested a Thimphu resident, a youth working in a workshop, for abusing and possessing controlled substance within permissible quantity.

When police asked about the source, he said he bought from the Paro resident. It was alleged that police then made the detainee call the Paro resident to bring the controlled substances until Chunzom.

Police in plain clothes arrested the Paro resident in Chunzom when he went to handover the substances to the detainee.

A source said that it is entrapment since police induced the person to bring the substances. “They have arranged the venue as Chunzom since Thimphu police did not have  jurisdiction beyond Chunzom.”

Police accepted that there were some procedural lapses, but denied entrapment.

Thimphu city police’s officer-in-command (OC) for drugs, Major Namgay Dorji, said the offence of entrapment would be when a law enforcer induces a defendant to do something illegal. “But to curb drugs, police have to go forward to ensure that the drugs in possession of the defendant should not reach the market.”

He explained that drugs is different from other crimes, as it affects everyone.

While the case raises the question if police are following the due processes of law, Major Namgay Dorji said they would be following the same process, as it is a worldwide practice. “In other countries, police would indulge in secret and undercover activities to apprehend drug culprits.”

Meanwhile, more than 665 people were arrested in Thimphu for drugs this year of which 607 are male and 58 are female. Of the people arrested, 229 were abusers, meaning they tested positive for abusing drugs.