Thimphu dzongkhag court on July 9 sentenced a 28-year-old man from Toribari, Phuentsholing to five years and six months in prison for trafficking Spasmo Proxyvon Plus (SP+) last year.

Police found Karan Baktey on the Chang Lam near the Bhutan Archery Shop intoxicated and checked the bag he was carrying. The bag contained 1,878 pieces of SP+ capsules and a single capsule of Nitrosun (N-10).

Karan Baktey admitted to possessing the controlled substances. He submitted that he collected the substances from a Bolero coming from Phuentsholing at Semtokha for a friend and was arrested by police while on the way to deliver the package.

The medical examination of his urine tested positive for Benzodiazepine and Tramadol, narcotic substances.

According to the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act 2017, a person would be allowed to carry 10 pieces in case of tablets and capsules of narcotic drugs having medicinal value, provided the person has a prescription from a certified medical practitioner.

The permissible quantity of psychotropic substances having medicinal value is 15 pieces per person in case of tablets and capsules if prescribed by a doctor.

The offence of illicit trafficking of any substance listed under Schedule III and IV of this Act is a felony of third degree if the quantity is equal to or more than two times the quantity determined in Schedule VII of this Act.

The court judgment ruled that the convict had confessed to the crime in accordance with section 84 and 85 of the Evidence Act of Bhutan voluntarily and independently.

The OAG also submitted that Karan Baktey was convicted in a similar case of drug trafficking in 2014 and served a prison term of two years and six months. The prosecutor asked the court to increase the sentence because of the repeat offence.

The court ruled that since the previous crime occurred in 2014 before the NDPSSAA Act 2015 was enacted and he was convicted of a misdeamenour as per the Bhutan Penal Code 2004. “Even if the sentence is increased it could only increase to a fourth degree.  Whereas in this case he is given a third degree which is higher than the fourth degree sentence,” the court judgment stated. “Thus, there is no need to increase the sentence.”

The court ordered police and OAG to handover the seized substances to the relevant authority and to inform the court accordingly.

Karan Baktey has 10 working days from the day of the judgment to appeal against the decision to High Court

Tshering Palden