Jean Bosco Twibanire Basigeho, 38, was arrested red-handed on October 30 in Bisizi Village, Rukoko Cell of Rubavu Sector with a bundle of 2,500 pellets of cannabis.
His arrest came just a day after another major supplier identified as Vincent Nzabonimpa, 31, was also arrested by ANU in the same district in Busasamana Sector with 7,500 pellets of the ‘very severe drug.’
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that ANU had Twibanire on its list of suspected major drug traffickers and suppliers, and that he was being trailed.
“ANU recently got information that Twibanire had brought three bundles of cannabis from DR Congo, which he was keeping in his house. ANU raided the house, which was being guarded by two people armed with knives,” CIP Karekezi explained.
He added: “The guards, however, ran away when they saw armed security personnel but Twibanire was apprehended as he was trying to flee. In the process Police recovered one bundle in his house containing 2500 rolls of cannabis.
There is information that he had already sold the other two bundles, but law enforcement organs are working together to locate and arrest all the retailers he was supplying and others connected to his criminal business.”
CIP Karekezi further explained that identities of some of the suspected major traffickers and local suppliers are known and are being traced.
The arrest came on the heels of increased operations to break chains of supply, spearheaded by the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU). Last month, ANU arrested three other major drug dealers; one in Rulindo District with 2,101 pellets and other 20kgs of raw cannabis and two others in Rubavu with 10kgs.
Another suspected supplier was arrested last week in Rutsiro District with over 2,200 rolls of cannabis.
“With the help of the public through information sharing, Rwanda National Police continues to compile names of suspected major drug dealers especially in Rubavu and Rusizi, which are used as major trafficking routes to other parts of the country including Kigali.
This strong community policing framework with the public facilitates the Anti-Narcotics Unit to track and arrest these suspected drug dealers red-handed. The whole operation is aimed at breaking chains of supply,” CIP Karekezi said.
Meanwhile, Police is also still searching for another major drug dealer identified as Olivier Ntawuguranayo, 35, who managed to flee during the operation conducted in Muhanga District over the weekend. Ntawuguranayo was at the time trafficking 1,500 pellets of cannabis, which were impounded.
Cannabis is listed as a "very severe drug" in Rwanda, alongside cocaine, opium and heroin, under the Ministerial Order No. 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization.
In article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general, it is stated that anyone convicted for "severe narcotic drugs" faces a life imprisonment and a fine of between Frw20 million and Frw30 million.