Separate police operations conducted in various parts of the country on Saturday and Sunday resulted in the areas of about 40 people said to have been running narcotic drug businesses.
Those arrested include traffickers, who were arrested red-handed trying to sneak drugs into the country, motorcyclists who facilitate them to transport the drugs from point-to-point, and those running local retail operations, Police said.
A ring of 35 traffickers was busted in Burera District as they tried to cross through a swamp in Rugarama Village of Rwasa Cell in Gatebe Sector, with sacks and boxes of contraband in different brands, and other assorted narcotics, Police said.
“On Saturday evening at about 4pm, a resident of Rugarama Village reported a group of people that he was very sure were using the swamp, from Uganda with narcotics,” CIP Hamdun Twizeyimana, the police spokesperson for the Northern region, said.
“An operation was conducted and they were arrested at about 3am after they crossed into Rwanda,” he added.
How they use the waters
They use the cover of night to wade through the deadly swamp.
Others wrap the narcotics in waterproof materials, use long ropes that are tied on their legs, then swim through up to the Rwandan side.
Some parts of the swamp are deep, and drug traffickers have marked risky areas, with signs noticeable on visiting the swamp, which guides them on to the safe passage.
Burera is one of the major transit routes for traffickers.
The ongoing countrywide awareness drive on illicit drugs, was officially launched in Burera, last year, where about 160 drug dealers arrested within a space of a week, were paraded before residents.
The campaign seeks to kill the local market for illicit drugs by preventing new abusers, rehabilitating the addicts, and bringing all groups on board to break chains of supply.
Meanwhile, in another operation, two motorcyclists were intercepted in Rukomo Sector, Nyagatare District transporting assorted contraband and cannabis.
The motorcycles were impounded, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Theobald Kanamugire, the police spokesperson for Eastern Province, said.
In Rubavu District, a tip-off from a commercial motorcyclist led to the arrest of a passenger he was transporting, who had about 7kg of cannabis concealed in his luggage, Police said.