Massive Gold Smuggling Operation Unearthed in Dolakha: Cryptocurrencies and Dollars Used for Transactions
Kathmandu, Nov 22: In a significant revelation, the Dolakha police, in conjunction with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB), has exposed a major gold smuggling operation through the Lamabagar Falak crossing. The investigation confirmed the illegal import of 33 kg of gold, shedding light on a sophisticated network involving the use of cryptocurrencies and dollars for transactions.
During a joint press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Superintendent of Police Deepak Khadka disclosed that the gold smuggling gang was apprehended, but 12 individuals connected to the operation are still on the run and actively being pursued.
The investigation, prompted by the arrest of the smuggling group, unveiled a startling modus operandi. According to Khadka, the group managed to bring in 33 kg of gold on six separate occasions through the Falak checkpoint in Lamabagar. The transactions, totaling a value of over two billion 914 million 32 thousand five hundred and ninety-three USDT units, were conducted with Chinese smugglers using cryptocurrency.
Police Inspector Ramakrishna Pathak, assigned by CIB to investigate the case, highlighted that the payments were made through 12 different digital wallets, raising suspicions of potential connections to other forms of smuggling.
The smuggling route involved tying the gold to a rope and transporting it across the river from the Falak Pass of Lamabagar in Dolakha, a region bordering China’s Tibet. Following the illegal import, the gold was sold in Kathmandu, and the proceeds, in the form of dollars, were sealed, packed, and then tied to a rope from Lama Bagar’s board for payment to Chinese citizens.
The investigation revealed that the group paid 760,000 US dollars (approximately 100,118,000 Nepalese rupees) to the Chinese by attaching the cash to a rope. Over the course of a year, from November 2079 to October 8, 2079, the group managed to import 33 kg of gold on six separate occasions.
The Dolakha police recovered 11 kg of gold out of the total 33 kg smuggled through the Falak crossing, along with 532 grams of gold ornaments, valued at Rs 10 crore 68 lakh 68 thousand seven hundred and 61. Cash amounting to Rs 18 lakh 33 thousand 500 was confiscated from one of the individuals involved in the smuggling, and an additional Rs 31 lakh 74 thousand 665 were traced in various banks under their name.
A total of 15 individuals, including Chinese nationals Gang Ru and Akar Lama, were arrested and investigated in connection with the gold smuggling operation. While one person was released on bail, the remaining 14 were detained and investigated for approximately two months.
The police, with support from the CIB, have completed the investigation and submitted the report to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Dolakha. The accused are set to face charges under various laws, including the Customs Act, 2064, Organized Crime Prevention Act, 2070, Nepal Rastra Bank Act, 2058, Children Act, 2075, and Section 43 of the Criminal Code, 2074.
As the investigation unfolds, authorities are actively pursuing the 12 individuals who are still at large, with additional charges expected upon their arrest. The scale and complexity of the operation, highlighted by the use of cryptocurrencies in the transactions, mark this case as a significant challenge for law enforcement.
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