Portuguese national arrested with drugs worth Rs20 million at Tribhuvan International AirportAccording to officials, the arrest shows that Nepal is still being used as a transit to smuggle drugs to other countries.
On Friday, police at the Tribhuvan International Airport arrested a 25-year-old Portuguese national with drugs. Police found the drugs in a suitcase while checking the Portuguese national at the baggage check-in area.
The Portuguese national, Mendes Pereira Tiago, was scheduled to board the Air India flight to Delhi. From Delhi, Mendes was meant to leave for Japan.
At the airport, police confiscated 4.380 kgs of amphetamine, a stimulant drug banned in Nepal, from Mendes. After the arrest, police at the airport handed Mendes to the Narcotics Control Bureau for further investigation.
The market price of the confiscated amphetamine is said to be around Rs 20 million.
According to officials at the bureau, the arrest of Mendes shows that Nepal is still being used as a transit to smuggle drugs such as amphetamine to other countries.
“There are not many users of amphetamine in Nepal, and that is why we can ascertain that the drug was being smuggled to other countries after being collected here. Mendes is just a carrier of the drug,” Superintendent of Police Krishna Prasai, spokesperson of the bureau, told the Post.
Officials say that amphetamine is brought to Nepal from countries such as Thailand, Burma and Myanmar. Through Nepal, the drug is then smuggled to Australia and other Asian countries.
“Amphetamine has been confiscated after a long time. That could mean two things: either the rackets are back after a gap or the activity was continuing undetected,” said Prasai.
Earlier in 2016, the bureau had busted an international drug smuggling racket run by Dharma Pakhrin Tamang, a resident of Dhading, who carried out his operations from Thailand.
The racket was exposed after a member of the racket Bhupendra Tamang was arrested in Brisbane, Australia, along with Australian national Raymond John Marsden with 54 kgs of amphetamine by the Australian Federal Police in January of 2016.
After the arrest of Bhupendra, the Australian police had reported the incident to the Narcotics Control Bureau in Nepal. Following the information, the bureau had arrested three members—Manish Shrestha, Bikram Lamicchane and Hom Bahadur Tamang—in relation to the racket in March 2016.
Similarly, in April 2016, the bureau arrested Netra Gurung and Chitra Tamang, two other members of the racket, from Tribhuvan International Airport with 302 grams of amphetamine which was being smuggled to Nepal from Bangkok.
However, a senior officer of the bureau said that the preliminary investigation has shown no link of Mendes with the racket run by Bhupendra.
“The preliminary investigation has shown that Mendes had no link with Bhupendra’s racket. Being a carrier, Mendes also does not know much about the racket he was working for,” said a senior officer of the bureau on condition of anonymity citing he was not allowed to speak about the ongoing investigation.
According to the officer, they are having problems interrogating Mendes, as he only speaks and understands Portuguese. “Since Mendes can only speak Portuguese, we have not been able to extract much information. But we are focused on finding everything, because we need to dismantle this overall racket,” said the officer.
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