Nepal | October 16, 2019

Couple held with huge cache of drugs

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 7

The Narcotics Control Bureau raided a tailor’s shop in Lalitpur Metropolitan City and arrested its owners with a huge amount of psychoactive substances.

Those arrested have been identified as the shop owners, Suren Nagarkoti, 25, and his wife Ajita Gurung, 21, of Doramba Rural Municipality-10 in Ramechhap district. NCB said Rs150,000 in cash, 36 mobile phone sets of various brands, three iPads and 1,201 ampoules of injectable drugs diazepam, buprenorphine and phenergan were confiscated from the shop.

They used to sell the controlled pharmaceutical drugs to users in return for cash or against the guarantee of smart mobile phones, iPads and other valuables. NCB claimed that it was one of the biggest drug rackets busted in Kathmandu valley.

The couple have been charged with smuggling, possessing, distributing and selling prescription drugs in contravention of the Narcotic Drugs (Control and Punishment) Act.

The law allows the law enforcement agency to take drug crime suspects into police custody for at least 90 days for investigation, before filing a case to the concerned district court, through the Office of District Attorney.

The couple had been smuggling prescription drugs to the valley that were supplied from India with the help of drug dealers, for the past few years. Racketeers like Nagarkoti and Gurung were found to have switched to smuggling of pharmaceutical drugs from hardcore ones such as hashish and heroin, of late. Those found in possession of hardcore drugs get life imprisonment. But those convicted of smuggling pharmaceutical drugs need to spend only around three years in jail.

NCB warned that prescription drug abuse was rife in urban areas. It said teenagers and youths account for the largest section of end users of prescription drugs due to their accessibility and affordability compared to the hard drugs, in the illegal market. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the annual growth rate of drug users is around 11.36 per cent.

A version of this article appears in print on July 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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