Nepal makes its biggest cannabis bust

Katmandu – Police in Nepal have made their biggest ever cannabis bust, seizing more than 2.5 tons from a jungle on the outskirts of the capital Kathmandu, a spokesman said Monday. Drug squad officers discovered 2 640 kilogrammes of the plant packed in 88 plastic sacks and bound for India, police superintendent Sher Bahadur Basnet told AFP.He said the haul had a street value in Nepal of around $155 000 – but would fetch far more on the international market. “We were tipped off about this more than a month ago and we were investigating it. On Saturday, the smugglers were preparing to transport the consignment from the jungle,” Basnet said. “This is the largest capture of the drug since our office was set up in 1992. We have seized up to 700 kilos before but this is a big deal.” Basnet said one kilogramme of cannabis would fetch 5 000 rupees ($58) on the streets of Kathmandu. Five men in their 20s have been arrested and each face jail sentences of up to ten years and fines of 100 000 rupees if convicted. Nepal has historically had a lax attitude to the possession and sale of cannabis, with its availability attracting travellers from across the world for decades. In 1973 the government, under US pressure, outlawed the drug, effectively signalling the demise of the hippy trail era. However the country has only started to enforce the ban in recent years.

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