Anti-drug fight bearing fruit in the Capital
KATHMANDU, JUN 19 -
The anti-drug unit under Nepal Police has savoured the most success in the last three months. In what police claim to be their outstanding achievement in curbing national as well as international drug smuggling, the number of arrests and seizure of illegal and controlled drugs have gone up sharply.
Besides the seizure of controlled medical drugs, including diazepam and buprenorphine, police have been busting smuggling rackets and seizing drugs direct from godowns.
Along with the seizure of various kinds of drugs in huge haul, more than 45 individuals, including three international smugglers, were arrested in the last three months. According to SP Sher Bahadur Basnet of Narcotic Drugs Control and Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU), efforts made by the Operational Intelligence Team led to the arrest of smugglers and seizure of drugs. “We have overhauled our system to make it more effective,” he says. “Hence, we have been successful.”
Meanwhile, according to Inspector Krishna Gopal Paneru, the “hero” behind all the recent operations launched by NDCLEU, police have expanded their intelligence as well as surveillance in curbing activities related to drug abuse. “This is the very factor that is behind our recent success.”
Hottest hauls of the late
Among the most recent hauls is the arrest of international peddler Devendra Bikram Rokka aka Devi along with his hashish manufacturing mini-factory in the Capital. Devi, who has been into drug smuggling since early 1970s, has also been jailed in 1979 and 1985. Police’s another big hand came on June 5 with the arrest of a heroin trafficking ring operating jointly from Birgunj, Kathmandu and Bihar of India.
Likewise, in the largest ever hashish haul, NDCLEU confiscated 2,640 kg of hashish from a Kathmandu-based godown. Three drug peddlers hailing from Makwanpur were also caught in the operation. In the last three months, police seized 237 kg of refined hashish. Apart from that, 4.2 kg heroin was seized along with controlled drugs buprenorphin (2,232 capsules) and diazepam (2,270 capsules).
Potential resurrection of transit hub
Potential resurrection of transit hub
Leaving aside police’s relentless effort to curb drug trade and eventual success achieved so far, according to SP Silwal, Nepal is under continuous threat of turning back to history once again and becoming a transit point for illegal drugs trade between Asian countries and the rest of the world.
In the last couple of years, smugglers operating from foreign seem to have increased their drug activities in Nepal’s both land and air. NDCLEU records show over 30 kg of heroin and opium were seized from the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and other parts of the Capital in last two years. Highly valued in the international drug market, about 1 kg cocaine worth US$ 200,000, was also confiscated from a Thai national in January this year. Apart from the poor security at the country’s only international airport, police attribute this to Nepal’s growing air connectivity to the outside world following the expansion of international flights by India in 2010.
India’s extension of its international flights has provided an easy option for traffickers to ship opium produced in the Asia’s Golden Crescent region to lucrative markets overseas, say police. Golden Crescent, overlapping the countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, refers to one of the Asia’s two largest heroin and opium-producing regions that came into existence from the time of Second World War in the 1940s. Nepal is emerging as a “risk-free” transit point for traffickers to ship drugs to the international market, says Silwal. “After India opened up new flight routes, traffickers turned their eyes towards Nepal, owing to our poor security at TIA,” says Silwal. He believes that the traffickers are now barging opium and heroin produced in Afghanistan, first overland to Pakistan and then to Nepal by air. They then use local couriers to smuggle them into India, before shipping the consignment overseas. “Having said that, we don’t want to blame India for expanding flight routes,” he says.
In what seems to be police’s innovative effort in minimising drug harms in the society, a new anti-drug campaign was launched on June 7 this month. Unlike other strict operations that the police usually carry out, the campaign puts a major emphasis on increasing awareness at the local level.
The awareness campaign headed jointly by the Nepal Police and Narconon Nepal aims at reaching out to youth at the local level. According to Nepal Police Spokesman DIG Binod Singh, the campaign will fan out from the centre to regions, from regions to districts, from districts to villages and then to villages to families. “We have the target to reach at the lowest level of every part of the country in six months,” he says. Narconon Nepal coordinator Basantaraj Kunwar says the situation of drug abuse in Nepal is still not as worse as in other South Asian countries.
Posted on: 2012-06-19 08:33