Four people suspected to be members of the same syndicate of major drug dealers have been arrested in separate operations conducted by the Rwanda National Police (RNP) Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU).
The four were arrested in separate operations conducted in City of Kigali and Rubavu District, with combined 6,500 rolls of cannabis.
The suspects include the trio arrested in Rubavu District, namely: Gabriel Izabafashe, 31, who was found in possession of 5000 pellets of cannabis; Julienne Nyirabuhinja, 40, with 1100 pellets; Emmanuel Mushimiyimana with 400 pellets; as well as one Theogene Nsabimana arrested in Kigali.
Izabafashe is the suspected head of the syndicate, who was supplying the other three alleged distributors.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson of the Western region, said that ANU first arrested Mushimiyimana on Monday, November 23, in Rugerero Sector in Rubavu, with 400 pellets of cannabis.
“A resident called the Police after seeing Mushimiyimana with a consignment of pellets of cannabis. Police officers arrested Mushimiyimana after they found him in possession of 400 rolls of cannabis. Mushimiyimana disclosed that together with Nsabimana, they bought narcotics from Izabafashe,” said CIP Karekezi.
According to Mushimiyimana, Nsabimana bought 2000 pellets of cannabis from Izabafashe. ANU tracked and arrested Nsabimana in Nyabugogo suburb, Nyarugenge District.
“Mushimiyimana, on November 24, led Police officers to Izabafashe’s bar located in Buheshi Sector, Rusiza Cell in Nyacyonga Village, where Mukeshimana, who first introduced herself as Claudine Mukeshimana, was found after buying 1,100 pellets of cannabis from Izabafashe.
Izabafashe first denied the claims, but local residents insisted and asked the Police to go and search his house for evidence. Indeed, officers, during the search, recovered a bundle containing 5,000 pellets of cannabis,” CIP Karekezi explained.
He thanked the residents, who played part in breaking the chain of narcotics suppliers, and urged the public to report anyone in their localities they suspect to be a drug dealer so as to save the young people, who account for the majority of abusers.
The Ministerial Order No. 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization classifies cannabis as a "very severe drug."
The law determining offences and penalties in general in Rwanda, especially in its article 263, provides an imprisonment of between 20 years and life, for anyone convicted for very severe narcotic drugs and a fine of up to Rwf30 million.