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Gelephu court sends seven to prison for illicit drug trafficking

Gelephu drungkhag court sentenced seven individuals to prison terms ranging between five and eight years for illicit trafficking of narcotic substances and psychotropic substances and related charges on February 13.

Monoj Verman, 19, from Shanji Basti in Chirang district, Assam was caught with 120 pieces of Spasmoproxyvon Plus (SP+) and three pieces of Nitrosun-10 (N-10) in Gelephu town on October 18 last year. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He had bought the prohibited substances for Nu 1,200 from a friend in the border town, Dadhgari. He had violated section 139 (2) of the NDPSSAA 2015. The act grades the crime as a third degree felony with a prison term ranging between five and nine years.

Although the amount of N-10 was less than the permissible limit, he did not have a prescription to carry the controlled substances. He confessed that he had brought the substances for sale.

For the charge of trafficking SP+, he was sentenced for six years in prison. Convicted of a misdemeanor for possessing three pieces of N-10, he was given a year in prison.

However, as the defendant did not have any criminal record, and to reduce the burden on the state from the having to look after prisoners, the court allowed him to pay in lieu of his one year prison term for possessing N-10.

Gajan Basumatry, 26, from Chirang district in Assam, was convicted of two counts of illicit trafficking and sentenced to six years and three months in prison.

Police at the Gelephu border check post found 41 pieces of Nitrosun-10 (N-10) and 27.52 grams of cannabis in possession of the convict on September 28, 2017.

Gajan Basumatary admitted in court that he had bought 47 pieces of N-10 and the cannabis from the neighbouring Indian town, Bongaigaon. Six pieces were consumed on the spot.

He had violated sections 139 (2) and 131 (2) of the Narcotics Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, and Substance Abuse Act 2015 for possessing and illicit trafficking of the prohibited substances. Further, he had also possessed more than three times the permissible limit of SP+ in violation of the NDPSSAA 2015 and was charged for third degree with a prison term ranging between five and nine years. He was given five years and three months in prison for this offence. The court stated that since he does not have any criminal record, he could pay in lieu of the one-year prison term for abusing cannabis.

Shikhalu Basumatary, 39, who is also from Chirang distric, Assam was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for the third degree felony. He was caught with 135 grams of cannabis at Kuengaling, Gelephu October 12 last year.

Shikhalu Basumatary told the police and the court that he had collected the substance to abuse at home. He had brought it to his work place for his personal use when he was arrested, he said.

He was convicted for violating section 133 of the NDPSSAA 2015 for illicit trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives. The section states, “A defendant shall be guilty of an offence of illicit trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives, regardless of the degree of purity, if he or she imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies cannabis or its derivatives if it is more than the quantity determined in Schedule VII of this Act.”

The court also sentenced a 21-year-old farmer, Abishek Chettri, from Jampelling in Gelephu, Sarpang to six years and six months in prison for illicit trafficking of controlled substances.

Abishek Chettri told the court that he bought 114 pieces of SP+ worth Nu 2,200 and 10 pieces of N-10 worth Nu 150 from Barobesa, Assam on September 3 last year.

That afternoon, while was at a bar in Gelephu town, Police frisked him on suspicion and found the controlled substances from his pockets. He had eaten six of the 10 N-10 tablets from the strip. He told the court that he gave the other two tablets to a friend and that he brought the banned substances for his own consumption.

The court convict Abishek Chettri for violating sections 139 and 137 of the NDPSSAA 2015 for illicit trafficking and possession of the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Section 137 states that a defendant shall be guilty of an offence of illegal possession of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, listed in Schedule III or IV if the quantity is less than the limit determined in Schedule VII of the Act but fails to produce a prescription from a registered physician for legal use.

He was sentenced five years and six months for trafficking SP+.  He was given a year in prison for illicit possession of the N-10 which was graded a misdemeanor. Abhishek Chettri can pay in lieu of the one-year imprisonment.

Kuenzang Thinley, 23, from Tsento, Paro was sentenced seven years in prison for the third degree offence. He had bought 72 pieces of SP+ for Nu 1,200 from a dealer in Dahgari, a town across the border in Assam andwas returning to Gelephu town when Police arrested him near the old brick factory at Namkhaling on September 28, 2017. He had concealed the tablets in his belt (kera).

He said that he bought the banned substances for personal consumption and not for sale. The father of a child, pleaded to the court for a minimum sentence as there is none to look after his family. He was a repeat offender in similar charges and had served three counts of conviction all of which were petty misdemeanor.

Dawa Chedrup, 21, from Pemaling, Serzhong gewog in Gelephu was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. He was arrested with 30 pieces of SP+ in Gelephu town on September 6, 2017.

He had violated the section 139 (2) of the NDPSSAA 2015 and was convited for third degree felony. He had bought the banned substances from one Sonam Wangdi for Nu 1,000.

Ugyen Dorji was sent to prison for eight years, the highest sentence for breach of Narcotics Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act 2015. He had violated section 139 of the Act.

The section states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of Illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances if he or she possesses, imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies: (1) Any substances under Schedules I and II of this Act regardless of the degree of purity or formulation; or (2) Any substances under Schedules III and IV of this Act regardless of the degree of purity.”

The court in all the cases asked the OAG and police to destroy the seized substances.

Tshering Palden

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