How a taxi-driver lured drug traffickers into security net

On Saturday last week, at about 7:30pm, a taxi-driver in his parking lot in Nyamirambo, a City of Kigali suburb, received a phone call from someone who said he had a job for him in Nyabugogo.

The taxi-driver (names withheld), drove fast down to Nyabugogo where he found the caller with two other men.

“They told me they had a luggage to pick at 15 (along Remera-Kabuga highway) later that night and transport it to Kimisagara, I pressed them to know what the luggage was and they openly told me they are bags of cannabis,” the driver said.

“Two things came to my mind immediately; this was a risky and criminal job, but if I don’t take it up I will have squandered the chance to have them arrested,” he added.

Indeed, he demanded to be paid Rwf50, 000 upfront. With the three men onboard, he drove to Kabuga at about 11pm where they unloaded four bags of cannabis from a Tanzanian-registered petroleum truck, into his car.

“With the contraband in the trunk and the prime suspects in my car, I drove straight to where police officers on night duty were along Kimihurura-city centre road, jumped out and told them that the men in my car are major drug dealers and I had the evidence in the trunk,” the taxi-driver explained.

The three men were immediately taken into custody at Kimihurura Police Station together with the evidence.

Police identified the suspects as Charles Mvukiyehe, 46, Francois Ndagijimana and his brother in-law Felicien Karangwa.

“I love my country and it is my responsibility to fight for it in any way I can, and this is one of those ways. You can’t sit back and watch when such people are destroying our children… the young generation,” he said.

How the narcotics were trafficked into the country

Mvukiyehe, a Congolese national, while speaking to the media at the police station on Sunday, said that he was recently approached by Ndagijimana in Rubavu asking him to get him cannabis across in DR Congo.

Mvukiyehe and Ndagijimana are friends and both live in Gisenyi, Rubavu District.

“Ndagijimana told me that there is a big market in Kigali, and he connected me to a big cannabis farmer in DR Congo. Part of the deal was that I will transport the drugs to Kigali and we settled for Rwf420, 000 to transport the narcotics to Kigali, he gave me Rwf200, 000 (down payment) with the balance to be paid on arrival in Kigali,” Mvukiyehe narrated.

He explained that he struck a deal with a truck driver, who was returning back from DR Congo, having delivered his cargo to the neighbouring country.

“We stuffed the bags of cannabis in the fuel tank last Thursday but the truck crossed into Rwanda on Saturday at about 4pm, Ndagijimana and myself had left Gisenyi to Kigali earlier that day where the truck would find us.”

On arrival in Kigali, this is when Mvukiyehe contacted a friend back in Gisenyi to connect them to a taxi driver that would help transport the drugs, with the plan later hitting a dead end.

Ndagijimana, on his part, admitted to the crime, but said his in-law (Karangwa) wasn’t aware of the deal.

“I called Karangwa on arrival in Kigali to help me with Rwf180, 000 to top up and clear the balance for transport (Rwf220, 000), and he wasn’t aware that I was in a dirty deal, only that we were together in the car at the time of arrest,” Ndagijimana, who claimed it was his first time to deal in drugs, said.

Chief Inspector of Police Marie Goretti Umutesi, the Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali, commended the taxi-driver for his “brave and responsive act.”

“If we work together, drug traffickers will find it hard to succeed in their criminal dealings and it will be easier to identify and bring dealers to justice,” CIP Umutesi said.

Anyone convicted as a “big drug dealer” faces between 20 years in jail and life in prison.