People found using ambulances, essential goods vehicles to smuggle drugsAccording to the Nepal Police, during the first nine months of the current fiscal year they have arrested 3, 888 individuals, including 135 foreigners, for possessing illegal drugs.
On Sunday, a police team from the District Police Office, Sunsari arrested a man from Koshi Rural Municipality who was allegedly smuggling a huge amount of cannabis to India.
The arrested person has been identified as 40-year-old Ganesh Yadav. According to a press statement issued by the District Police Office Sunsari, Yadav was caught with 165 kg of cannabis which he was trying to smuggle to India.
Similarly, on Thursday, during a regular security check, a police team from the District Police Office, Chitwan arrested an Indian national allegedly in possession of 270 kilograms of cannabis.
The man was identified as 25-year-old Pintu Kumar. According to the District Police Office Chitwan, Kumar was trying to smuggle cannabis to India through the Biratnagar border in a truck bearing Indian license plate (NL 01 N 5867). Further investigation into the case is underway.
Yadav and Kumar's are among thousands of arrests police have made while people were trying to smuggle contraband in and out of the country despite the country remaining under Covid-19-induced movement restrictions for the past several months. Even now most of the districts are under prohibitory orders aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19.
According to the Nepal Police, during the first nine months of the current fiscal year they have arrested 3, 888 individuals, including 135 foreigners, for possessing illegal drugs.
In the fiscal year 2020-2021, Nepal Police across the country confiscated drugs worth millions. In the last nine months alone, the Narcotics Control Bureau of Nepal Police seized over 5, 447 kg of cannabis, over 255 kgs of opium, over 8 kgs of heroin and over 455 kgs of hashish.
With a view to combating the rising drugs smuggling via Nepal, the Nepal Police in 2012 had formed the bureau.
Headquartered at Koteshwar in Kathmandu, the bureau has its branches in Kakarbhitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Pokhara, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, Mahendranagar and Surkhet.
According to Superintendent Rishi Ram Kadel, who is also the spokesperson for the bureau, drugs like cannabis, hashish and opium are exported to India from Nepal in large quantities while pharmaceutical drugs like Diazepam, Nitrovit and Buprenorphine are smuggled into Nepal from India.
“Despite the restrictions, people take risks to smuggle the contraband because drug users are willing to pay high prices for these contraband. So drivers do not hesitate to carry such illegal drugs as they can make a huge amount of money quickly,” said Kadel. “Ambulances, water tankers and other vehicles carrying essentials have permits to travel even during restrictions, so smugglers are increasingly using such vehicles.”
According to Kadel, in Nepal, Indian smugglers have also been found providing opium and cannabis seeds to encourage farmers to grow these crops.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kathmandu airport was also used as a transit point by smugglers to sneak out mostly cocaine. But since the start of the pandemic smuggling by air has come down and it has stopped since the suspension of international flights.
According to Nepal Police data, only over 31 grams of cocaine has been confiscated during the first nine months of the current fiscal year.
Nepal Police data of the last three years show there has been a decline in the arrest of smugglers.
In the fiscal year 2018/19, police arrested 5, 558 persons on drug smuggling charges. Of them, 201 were foreigners. In the fiscal year 2019/20, authorities arrested 4, 546 persons, including 10 foreigners. In the first nine month of 2020/21, a total of 3, 888 people including 135 foreigners have been arrested on smuggling charges.