Crime: Police arrested a taxi driver yesterday for illegal trafficking of controlled psychotropic and narcotics drugs.

Following a tip off, police arrested the 27-year-old taxi driver at the Rinchending checkpost in Kharbandhi at around 4am. He was returning to Thimphu from Phuentsholing.

Police seized 3,336 capsules of Spasmo-proxyvon (SP), two sticks of cannabis and a hookah pipe.

According to police, the man was carrying the consignment for a friend in Khasadrapchu, who had given him Nu 6,000 to purchase drugs from the border.

Since the adoption of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSSA) 2015, about 150 people have been arrested in connection to illegal trafficking of controlled psychotropic and narcotics drugs.

Individuals are classified under three main categories under the amended Act. Those found in possession of 10 or more capsules of SP and 15 or more of other controlled pharmaceutical will be charged under illegal drug trafficking and those with less than the above quantity under illegal possession of drugs.

Police said that along with controlled pharmaceutical drugs, marijuana is the number one abused drug in the country.

According to the Act, cannabis is classified under schedule I, describing it as narcotic drugs with no medicinal value.

Section 133 of the Act says that a defendant shall be guilty of an offence of illegal trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives, regardless of the degree of purity, if he or she imports exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies cannabis or its derivatives if it is more than the quantity determined in Schedule VII (minimum quantity for illicit trafficking) of the Act.

Police arrested more than 55 percent of youth last year in connection with illegal possession, trafficking and consumption of controlled psychotropic and narcotics drugs.

According to sources, about 48 percent of the arrested youth were between the ages of 18 and 24. Youth below the age of 18 comprised six percent, while those above the age of 25 accounted for about 44 percent.

Despite repeated public sensitization and surprise checking conducted by police and authorities concerned, the number of drug-related cases is on the rise, said the police.

Younten Tshedup