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Drug smuggling taking place in lockdown in different forms



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By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, Apr. 20: Illegal drug trading has emerged as a crucial challenge to Nepal Police and Armed Police Force during the nationwide lockdown as drug traders and users are found to be more active and innovative during the crisis.
Security forces from the Nepal Police and the APF, who have been dedicating their services in implementing the lockdown and monitoring people in quarantine across the country, especially at border points, have been facing tough challenges at the time of COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal Police officials said on Sunday.
On April 7, two drug traders -- Dipal Shrestha, and Ganesh Adhikari -- riding a private car with registration number Ba 6 Cha 7019, reached Kakarbhittaa border in eastern Nepal from Kathmandu.
"To arrive here from Kathmandu, they made a plan to become fake doctors by printing forged medical license as if they were practicing doctors," Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and District Police Chief of Jhapa Mahendra Kumar Shrestha told The Rising Nepal by telephone on Sunday.
"We are so stunned that showing fake ID cards they came to the border from Kathmandu just for receiving the drugs they had demanded from the border (India) and they did so just thinking that they would not be checked anywhere during the lockdown," DSP Shrestha said. "During our police grilling, at first they told us that they came to the district for conducting a health camp during the lockdown."
Without filing a police case, Shrestha and Adhkari have been kept in quarantine at Adharsha Brick Kiln of the district, he said.

The impounded car was, however, kept at the Area Police Office, Kakarbhitta.
Most of the arrested people who came to the street defying the lockdown later turned out to be drug traders and users, he said.
Within last three weeks, the District Police Office has seized 25 motorcycles, one Scorpio jeep, and another car used by Shrestha and Adhikari.
DSP Shrestha said that patrolling of Nepal Police and the APF had been intensified and temporary police camps were also set up in the district and border following the lockdown.
Panityanki, Khoribari, Adhikari and Batashi are the major places of India from where Indian smugglers come to the border point of Karkarbhitta and hand over the drugs to Nepali smugglers.
Drug smuggling and illegal movement of humans from both the countries took place via informal routes like rivers that separate Nepal and India and small huts of the local people, said the police.
Earlier, shops and the local markets used to be the hotspots for supplying such drugs, police said.
Similarly, Superintendent of Police and spokesperson of State 2 Police Office, Janakpur, Jaya Raj Sapkota said that using various informal routes drugs traders were importing the banned drugs into Nepal from India.
Ten days ago, Saptari Police Office had detained 45-year old Jogindra Yadav of Bishnupur Gaunpalika-5 and impounded his motorcycle (Ko 4 Pa 4368) used in the smuggling, SP Sapkota said.
Within 27 days of the lockdown, the State 2 Police Office has arrested six drugs traders on different dates with different volumes of the contraband, he said.
Drug smugglers are found to be using and adopting various tricks to fudge the eyes and surveillance of police even during the time of lockdown, SP Sapkota said.
He also said those arrested in drugs smuggling cases were not being taken to the administration (court) as they should first be kept in quarantine in view of the risk of coronavirus.