Superintendent of Police (SP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said that four people were arrested during the separate operations, although others managed to flee back to Uganda.
"The rings were trying to sneak into the country cannabis, kanyanga and other assorted banned illicit gins, and plastic bags," SP Twizeyimana said.
"During the operations, Police seized from the traffickers 5kgs of cannabis, over 40,000 pieces of plastic bags, 115 litres of kanyanga, 750 pieces of African gin and 83 pieces of zebra gin," he added.
He identified those arrested as Samson Duhabwanayo, 20, who was caught with kanyanga and cartons of plastic bags, Gatanazi Felicien, 61, who was trafficking kanyanga and the duo of Ephraim Maniraguha, 24, and Suzanna Nyiramana, 40, who were also sneaking kanyanga into Rwanda.
"These are successful operations facilitated by credible information provided by the public, especially those residing on the borderline where smugglers and drug traffickers use porous entry points," SP Twizeyimana said.
Kanyanga and other alcoholic beverages produced without complying with the set standards, are classified as simple narcotic drugs under the Ministerial order Nº 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorisation. Cannabis is classified as a "very severe drug."
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.
In case of simple drugs, the offender faces between seven and ten years and a fine of not less than Rwf5 million but not more than Rwf10 million.