Crime: Thimphu police during their weekly highway drug checking on December 22 detained two men for smuggling controlled narcotic and psychotropic substances into the country.

Around 12:30pm, police caught a 45-year-old man in possession of controlled narcotic and psychotropic substances in Damchu.

The man was en route Thimphu from Phuentsholing in a bus.

The man, who is identified as a farmer from Punakha, was found carrying 10 tablets of Nitrosun (N10), 1,224 capsules of Spasmo-proxyvon (SP) and 22.65 grams of hashish (marijuana).

According to police, the man had hidden the contraband substances in a bag of dried vegetables.

Within the next hour, another man travelling in a truck towards Thimphu was also arrested at Damchu. Concealed within his luggage, police discovered 21.73 grams of hashish and three tablets of N10.

According to police, the seized contraband substances are the most commonly smuggled controlled substances into the country. Among the controlled pharmaceutical drugs, SP capsules top the list followed by N10 tablets and codeine based cough syrups.

Other than pharmaceutical drugs, cannabis is the most common drug abused in the country, police said.

The Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act of Bhutan (NDPSAA) 2015 classifies cannabis under schedule I of the Act, describing it as narcotic drugs with no medicinal value.

NDPSSA also states that illegal possession of all controlled narcotics and psychotropic substances could result in an offence of misdemeanor if the quantity is less than the limit determined in the Act but fails to produce a prescription from a registered physician for licit use.

However, illicit trafficking such as possession, imports, exports, stores, sales, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies would land a prison term of first to a fourth degree felony depending on the quantity, according to the Act.

Since police began a major crackdown on drugs on December 2, 2013, about 1,373 persons were arrested as of October 23 this year. Of the total, 789 are aged below 24.

Records also state that of the total arrests   , 191 were students followed by 97 government and corporate employees. The rest, 1,085 were either unemployed, farmers or into private businesses.

According to the Royal Bhutan Police Facebook page, 8,640 capsules of SP were also seized from a suspect in Thimphu on December 21.

However, police refused to comment on the case.

Records show that public transport is one of the most common modes of transportation through which illegal trafficking of controlled substances takes place in the country.

Younten Tshedup