Crime: Phuentsholing police apprehended a 28-year-old woman at Rinchending check post on January 31 for alleged possession of controlled narcotic and psychotropic substances.

The woman from Toedbisa in Punakha is alleged of attempting to smuggle the substances in a taxi.

Police officials in Phuentsholing alleged that the woman was carrying 5,341 spasmoproxyvon capsules (SP) and 200 tablets of N10. She was on her way to Thimphu.

“This is the first such case this year,” the officer-in-charge said.

The woman is unemployed. She was also alleged of testing positive for benzodiazepine and tramadol.

It was learned that the woman had spent Nu 21,000 to purchase the substances. It was bought from a street vendor across the border.

Kuensel learnt that although the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse (NDPSSA) Act has put in place more stringent penalties, there are many people, most of them youth, are still attempting to smuggle illegal substances.

As per the new NDPSSA Act, people carrying more than 10 tablets or capsules will be given a non-compoundable offense of a felony.

Sources said that since Phuentsholing shares a porous border with the Indian town of Jaigaon, it is the most susceptible place for drug abuse and smuggling.

In 2016, the police apprehended 136 people involved in such drug cases in Phuentsholing. Of the total, men were involved in 124 cases, while women were involved in 12. Non-Bhutanese were also involved in nine cases.

Following a major crackdown the police initiated in December 2013, many people, especially youth have been apprehended across the country.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing