Undercover cops nab two with 7.3 kg opium


A team of undercover police swooped on the members of an alleged drugs racket and arrested two suspects, including a woman, with a huge cache of narcotics in the capital yesterday.

Manju Tamang, 29, of Surkhet, currently residing in Kalanki, and Bishal Gurung, 20, of Dailekh, were picked up from Sundhara. Police have confiscated 7.3 kg opium from the duo. A team of the Metropolitan Police Crime Division intercepted Tamang and Gurung based on the information that they were about to sell the drugs to unidentified dealers.

Their clients are said to be foreign tourists and rich people in the capital city. Opium sells at more than Rs 50,000 per kg in illegal market of Nepal, but the price depends on buyers and sellers. Police said it was the single largest seizure of opium in the Kathmandu Valley.

The seizure has alarmed opium producers in remote parts of the country, officials said. Until a few years ago, police had ruled out production of the drug in Nepal. Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy which contains morphine, an alkaloid, which is also used to produce heroin.

An official said high opium price was the main reason that has led to the increase in cultivation of the plant. Production is rampant in parts of Tarai and central region, mainly in Makwanpur, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa. According to the Narcotics Control Bureau, police have destroyed poppy plants spread over 80 bighas of land in these district in the past two years in order to crack down its production.

On July 11, 2013, police had arrested seven persons with 226 gram opium from Chabahil. Similarly, a person was held with 500 gram opium from Bhotebahal on August 14, 2012.