TIA emerging as major drug transit hub

Kathmandu, June 2

Although the Narcotics Control Bureau of Nepal Police claims to have averted all attempts of international drug traffickers to smuggle cocaine to destination countries making Nepal a transit point, the risks of being arrested and jailed do not seem to have deterred drug carriers.

The first recorded cocaine smuggling via Nepal dates to January 4, 2012 when Thai woman Suparerat Mcintosh was held in possession of one kg of cocaine from the Tribhuvan International Airport.

She had carried the drug through seven countries, including Indonesia, Peru‚ Argentina and Qatar, to smuggle it into Malaysia, the final destination, as a drug mule.

A total of 24 kg of cocaine has been seized in a period of five years, which indicates that international drug racketeers are using Nepal as a transit point and that the drug lords give enough incentives to induce careers to risk arrest and prosecution.

As many as 24 persons were arrested during the period. They said they acted on an unidentified person’s request to carry the drug consignment for a paltry sum.

On June 8, 2014, the NCB nabbed three foreigners, all women, with 2.83 kg of cocaine. The drug mules  two Pakistani nationals, identified as Louis Arthur and Ayesha Hussain, and Filipino national Cristina Abaygar Haro  were about to smuggle the cocaine into Europe.

Similarly, the anti-drug agency arrested Raumond Zungu Oppel, a Namibian national, with two 2 kg of cocaine from the TIA on February 18, 2014. The arrestee was found to have swallowed non-digestible plastic capsules containing 1,904 grams of cocaine.

In the biggest ever seizure of cocaine in Nepal, police arrested Marina Binti Jamaluddin, a Malaysian woman, with 11 kg cocaine from the TIA on April 4, 2014. She was about to board a Qatar Airways flight bound for Doha.

Police held two foreign women in possession of 2.7 kg of liquid cocaine from Thamel on March 28. South African national Msane Mpathoni and Mercy, an Indian, were trying to smuggle it to Europe.

On May 23, the NCB rounded up Venezuelan national Ymeris Carment Narvaez (49), Mohamed Lamine Duba with Guinean passport, Indian national Touhid Khan and Dil Bahadur Gurung (28) of Tanahun, Nepal in possession of 2.683 kg of cocaine from different places of Kathmandu on May 23.

Of late, Chinese national Chun Man Ho was arrested with 3 kg of cocaine on May 28. Cocaine fetches around Rs 20 million per kg in the illicit drug market.

DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand, NCB in-charge, said the cocaine confiscated by police was not meant for sale and distribution in Nepal, thanks to its high price. “The destination of the cocaine seized here was Europe and Southeast Asian countries.

Those who used to make Bangladesh, India and Pakistan their transit point are now using Nepal because we don’t have the provision of death sentence.