Nim Dorji 

The Bumthang court on May 1 sentenced two shopkeepers and a corporate employee in prison for illegal import of cigarettes last December.

The case surfaced after an informer alerted Bumthang police of a suspected tobacco smuggling. While checking passenger buses travelling between Thimphu and Bumthang police came across a parcel containing 4,790 sticks of cigarettes in the name of the women running a Pan shop in Bumthang on December 9.

The 43-year-old woman from Dagana who runs a shop at Bajo town in Wangdue Phodrang was charged for illegally importing 4,790 sticks of cigarettes from Jaigaon in India. She was sentenced to four years and two months in prison.

The 29-year-old man from Pemagatshel, a corporate employee in Wangdue Phodrang, was sentenced to three years and 2 months for solicitation and aiding and abetting the crime. 

The Pan shop owner, 33, at Chamkhar town was sentenced to two years and 2 months in prison. She is also fined Nu 380,100, six times the actual amount paid for the cigarettes. The license has been confiscated and cancelled as per regulations.

It was learnt that both shopkeepers are repeat offender. They were convicted for tobacco possession by both Bumthang and Wangle district courts in the past.