Like many other cannabis distributors, who have been arrested in the past; Niyonzima’s luck run out on Friday, July 30, when the Rwanda National Police (RNP) Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) caught him red-handed in Gahira Village, Buringo Cell of Bugeshi Sector in Rubavu District with two bundles of cannabis weighing 33kgs.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, ANU has been trailing Niyonzima following credible information from residents about his criminal dealings.
"Niyonzima resides about 10 metres from the borderline with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Bereshi Village, Hehu Cell, Bugeshi Sector in Rubavu District. ANU had prior information that he is part of the racket involving Congolese, that sneak narcotics into Rwanda from DRC, through illegal border-points," CIP Karekezi said.
"On Friday, July 30, at about 6pm, Police officers attached to ANU conducted a target operation following information that he had brought a new consignment of cannabis. He was arrested red-handed in Gahira village with two bundles containing 33kgs of cannabis," he added.
At the time, Niyonzima, who had just received the narcotics from his Congolese suppliers, was headed to Kabatwa trading center in Bugeshi sector to supply his retailing clients.
CIP Karekezi lauded the impact of community policing and public ownership to report drug dealers, which facilitates the police to break chains of suppliers and local retailers.
Niyonzima has since been handed over to RIB at Gisenyi station for further investigations and legal process in connection with the alleged criminal acts.
The Ministerial order Nº 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization classifies Cannabis among the "very severe narcotic drugs"
Article 263 of law No 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offenses and penalties in general, states that any person, who unlawfully produces, transforms, transports, stores, gives to another or who sells narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, commits an offence.
Upon conviction for "very severe narcotics," the offender faces between 20 years and life imprisonment, and a fine of up to Rwf30 million.