Three people were arrested on Tuesday, October 27, in Nyagatare District with over 20, 000 pieces of banned non-biodegradable plastic bags, which they were at the time trafficking into Rwanda.
The suspects identified as Felicien Kimenyi, Jean de Dieu Nizeyimana and Frank Dusengimana were intercepted in Rwempasha Sector, Ryeru Cell.
They were also caught with 16 litres of the illicit crude gin locally known as Kanyanga, which is outlawed and classified as a psychotropic substance in Rwanda.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson of the Eastern region, said that the suspects had used a porous border to sneak the outlawed polythene bags and kanyanga into Rwanda from the neighboring Uganda.
“Members of the public residing on the borderline called the Police after they saw the three suspects using a porous border to cross into Rwanda from Uganda with the luggage.
Police officers were immediately dispatched and they arrested the trio carrying boxes of plastic bags amounting to 20, 000 pieces, and with 16 litres of kanyanga, which they had put in soft drink bottles to prevent being detected,” CIP Twizeyimana said.
He commended the role of the residents in fighting trafficking and selling plastic bags as well as narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Last month, three people were also arrested in Matimba Sector with four sacks of plastic bags.
Another suspected trafficker of plastic bags was also intercepted in Nyagatare town in July with 18, 600 pieces of the non-biodegradable products.
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CIP Twizeyimana warned that such illegal cross-border movements could be the source of further COVID-19 spread, and urged the public to continue reporting such errant individuals.
Article 10 of law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items, states that any person, who imports plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to the dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items, and to an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of those plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.
In article 11, a wholesaler of plastic carry bags and single use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Frw700, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items.
In article 12 of the same legal instrument, a retailer of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items is liable to an administrative fine of Rwf300, 000 and dispossession of those plastic carry bags and such items.
On the other hand, kanyanga is listed among simple narcotic drugs under Ministerial Order Nº 001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization.
Article 5 defines simple narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, precursors and unauthorised drinks as alcoholic drinks produced without complying with standards and other laws; chemical substances whose original intended use has been altered, and applied as narcotic drug; use of 116 controlled substances listed in the same Order.
Anyone convicted for simple narcotic drugs under article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general, face between seven and ten years in prison and a fine of between Frw5 million and Frw10 million.