On Feb 8, police arrested Abdul Rashid, a 25-year-old man from India’s Bahraich, with 200 grams of brown sugar. Rashid was carrying the drug in four plastic bags concealed inside his helmet.A joint patrol of Nepal Police’s Narcotics Control Bureau and Area Police Office Jamunaha had nabbed Rashid on his motorbike at Jamunaha near the border. He was on his way to the western Nepali town of Nepalgunj.
According to Police Superintendent Bir Bahadur Oli, Rashid was a regular smuggler of the contraband. He was planning to send half of the confiscated amount to Pokhara and half to Kathmandu. When local online portals broke the news, his buyers went out of contact. “I don’t know their whereabouts. They fled when the news about my arrest surfaced,” Rashid told the police.
The Narcotics Bureau had opened its Nepalgunj branch in 1994. The amount seized on Feb 4 was the largest to be confiscated from a person in a day since the establishment of the branch, according to Oli.
Police records show that confiscation of illegal drugs has increased in the district since 2011. Also on the morning of Feb 4, Bishnu Giri from Tikapur Municipality-1 of Kailali district was caught along with his brother, carrying 18 grams of brown sugar. A police patrol on the highway had nabbed the duo.
On 8 December 2012, Indian national Mohammad Salman Khan was arrested from erstwhile Bhawanipur VDC in possession of 110 grams of brown sugar. After that, on 30 October 2018, another Indian national, Sahare Alam, 19, was arrested from Chaulika Chowk of Nepalgunj along with 89 grams of the contraband.
Among the people arrested with large quantities of brown sugar in the past few years, most are Indian nationals. They are all traders of the contraband.
According to police inspector Bir Bahadur Thapa, chief of narcotics branch Nepalgunj, 200 grams is a big quantity to be confiscated from a person. “The Feb 4 arrest is significant,” he told APEX. The district police in Banke have already seized 2,163 grams of brown sugar since 2016/17. This fiscal year, 2019/20, the police have already seized 608 grams of brown sugar.
The police have arrested 1,025 persons in the past four years for their involvement in the trade. Court cases have been filed against 639. According to SP Oli, “The police are serious about controlling narcotics trade. All those guilty will have to face action.”
As per the Narcotics Control Act 1976, a person trading up to 25 grams of any contraband will face imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, or a fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to 25,000, or both. Those trading 100 grams or more will face 15 years to life imprisonment, or a fine ranging from Rs 500,000 to 2.5 million, or both O