Three of the dealers were foiled on Saturday, January 1, by the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) in Rurembo Village, Byahi Cell, Rubavu Sector of Rubavu District with 2526 rolls of cannabis.
They are Benjamin Muhawenimana, Jean Claude Ntakirutimana and Olive Muhawenimana.
The Western region Police spokesperson, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi said that Police first arrested Benjamin.
“ANU had mounted a check point along Rubavu-Musanze highway to randomly search passengers trafficking either narcotics or smuggled goods. In one of the buses, they recovered a luggage belonging to Benjamin containing 2,510 pellets of cannabis. He was immediately taken into custody,” said CIP Karekezi.
Benjamin also later disclosed that he was trafficking the narcotics to City of Kigali, where he had customers. He further told ANU officers that he bought them from two other suppliers; Jean Claude Ntakirutimana and his wife Olive Muhawenimana.
"Benjamin led the ANU officers to the home of Ntakirutimana in Rubavu sector where they recovered 16 pellets of cannabis and over Rwf160, 000 apparently paid to the by Benjamin for the narcotics. The couple was therefore arrested."
In a related operations, one Cyprien Munyanshongore, 42, was also arrested the same day in Karanka Village, Rukore Cell, Muganza Sector in Nyaruguru District with 5kgs of cannabis.
According to the Southern region Police spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, Munyanshongore is a suspected poacher, who was also found in possession of an Antelope, which he allegedly killed in Nyungwe National Park.
"Munyanshongore sneaked into Nyungwe and killed an Antelope. Park rangers got the information, they trailed him in the park where they saw him slaughtering the antelope, and packed it in a sack. When they apprehended him, they found the sack also containing cannabis weighing 5kgs," SP Kanamugire said.
All the suspects were handed over to RIB in Rubavu and Nyaruguru.
Article 58 of Law N°48/2018 of 13/08/2018 on environment states that; any person who hunts, sells, injures or kills a protected animal species and products thereof, commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than five (5) years and not more than seven (7) years and a fine not less than Rwf5 million and not more than Rwf7 million.
In article 3 of the Ministerial order nº 001/moh/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorisation classifies cannabis in the category of "very severe narcotics."
Article 263 of the law No. 68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offences 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.
In case of "very severe narcotic drugs" the offender is liable to between 20 years and life imprisonment and a fine of between Rwf20 million and Rwf30 million.