… 86 arrested in less than two weeks

Chencho Dema | Punakha

A major crackdown on drugs smuggling to curb the use of drugs in the country has led to the arrest of 86 people in a span of less than two-weeks between July 1-12. 

All arrested were male, incuding the eight minors.

The majority of the drugs were imported from across the border, and some of those apprehended were repeat-offenders. 

Senior Superintended of Police (SSP) of the Narcotics Drugs and Other Vices Division, Colonel Dorjee Khandu said that one of the reasons for more arrests and the discovery of drug cases was the establishment of the field division and numerous other narcotic drugs law and order units across the nation.  

“The police are now able to make more arrests with massive amounts of illegal substance than in the past due to the intelligence network’s improvement, narcotics drug crackdown, random highway checking, and actions expanded to crackdown on drugs,” he said.

He added that authorities can now keep an eye on the unlawful operations taking place at the border due to the installation of CCTV cameras. “We are using CCTV to help us make arrests as well.”

He requested the public, particularly those in the rural areas to contact the police if they see outsiders loitering on their property. As many individuals collect marijuana in rural areas.

Despite the police’s enforcement, statistics compiled by RBP show that there are more instances and arrests every year.

In 2020, 1,051 were arrested, followed by 737 in 2021, 1,557 in 2022, and 1,511 as of June 2023.

Of those arrested, 657 were juveniles in 2020, 443 in 2021, 948 in 2022, and 740 as of June 2023. There are more juveniles detained than adults. 

Adult arrests peaked in 2020 with 394, then dropped to 294 in 2021, 609 in 2022, and 771 as of June 2023. 

The number of women involved in drug-related cases is higher than ever before, from 77 in 2020, 45 in 2021, 86 in 2022, and 85 arrested as of June 2023. 

Males consistently had the highest number of involvement, with 974 in 2020, 692 in 2021, an increase of 1471 in 2022, and 1426 as of June 2023.

Those arrested included monks, tour guides, business owners, and drivers, unemployed people, students, and both private and public employees.

As of June 2023, the most persons arrested were unemployed people (603), followed by private employees (253), business owners (151), drivers (128), public servants (11), monks (8), and tour guides (8).

In 2020, there were 788 abusers; this number fell to 461 in 2021; then shot up to 1,159 in 2022 and 1,145 in as of June  2023.  

Substances seized 

A total of 117.92 grams of cannabis leaves, 107.34 grams of hashish, 25,545 Tramadol capsules, 300 Nitrosun tablets, two Corex bottles, and 1,075ml of thinner were seized from the 86 arrested to date this year.  

Police had recovered 0.36 gms of brown sugar in 2023 as of June, 5.29 gms in 2022, 1.9 gms in 2021, and 0.2 gms in 2020.

From 91,577 SP+ capsules seized in 2020, there were 1,275,13 capsules in 2021, 2,563,85 capsules in 2022, and as of June 2023, there were 80,984 capsules.

Numbers of bottles of Corex seized in 2020 was 140, 60 in 2021, 165 in 2022 and 197 in 2023 as of June. 

Nitrosun tablets seized in 2020 were 1469 pieces, 500 in 2021, 1698 in 2022 and 1858 in 2023 as of June. 

In terms of cannabis leaves 459.83 kg was seized in 2020, 24.59 kg in 2021, 6.07 kg in 2022 and 8.48 kg in 2023 as of June. 

5.12 kg of hashish in 2020 was seized, 3.51 kg in 2021, 2.04 kg in 2022 and 0.13 in 2023 as of June. 

Colonel Dorjee Khandu said that the number of arrests in drug-related cases has doubled today from two arrests a day a few years ago along with the quantity.

“Our nation and our youth in particular will be doomed if we don’t unite to fight against drugs,” he said.