Crime: Thimphu dzongkhag court convicted Arjun Subba, 26, from Tsendagang in Dagana to eight years in prison for illicit trafficking of controlled substances.

The court also sentenced Jigme Tshering, 22, from Athang in Wangdue Phodrang to five years and six months in prison for the same crime and  solicitation to use controlled drugs.

Arjun Subba was caught with 23,464 capsules of controlled substance spasmo proxovon (SP) and 90 grams of cannabis when police raided his house on May 26 this year.

Police raided his house in Olakha after two young men, Jigme Tshering and Sonam Phuntsho, 22, named him as the source of their supply of the drugs after police apprehended them for “rubbing” marijuana plants and possessing controlled substances.

Arjun Subba was given five years for smuggling 23,464 pieces of SP and three years for smuggling 90 grams of cannabis.

Illicit trafficking of controlled substances is graded third and fourth degree felony as it violates sections 134 and 139 of the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan, 2015.

The court verdict stated that Arjun Subba was a repeat offender, as he was given a three-year sentence earlier for smuggling tobacco.

The court acquitted the co-defendant in the case, Sonam Phuntsho from Tading in Samtse.

Sonam Phuntsho was arrested on May 23 from Lanjuphaka for “rubbing” marijuana and possessing 40 capsules of SP. He also tested positive for morphine.

Although Sonam Phuntsho admitted to police that he called Jigme Tshering and provided him with Nu 1,000 to buy the controlled substance, he changed his statement later in the court, claiming to have given the statement to the police under duress.

Sonam Phuntsho, represented by his father Kelzang Tenzin, submitted before the court that Jigme Tshering forced him to abuse drugs and cliamed that the 40 capsules of SP he possessed belonged to Jigme Tshering.

Jigme Tshering also admitted in court that the capsules belonged to him and he made Sonam Phuntsho keep it as it couldn’t fit in his pocket.

The prosecutors challenged the claim, stating that the defendant tested positive for drugs and also that he had taken Nu 1,000 from his father to buy the substances.

The court, however, acquitted Sonam Phuntsho stating that it was not proven beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty.

Jigme Tshering was apprehended with Sonam Phuntsho.

Tashi Dema