About 2,950 litres of illicit brew were seized from producers and sellers in separate operations conducted in Huye and Nyagatare districts.
At least 13 people were arrested during the two operations.
Twelve of the producers and sellers were arrested in Ryakibogo cell, Gishamvu Sector in Huye District with combined 1490 litres of Muriture and Ibikwangari, the locally produced illicit brews.
About 1400 other litres of an illicit drink called Umuneza were seized on Saturday, February 20, from an illegal plant owned by one Phocus Nkuriyingoma located in Gahurura Cell of Rukoma Sector in Nyagatare District.
All the seized psychotropic substances were disposed of in a public exercise through which residents were sensitized on dangers of consuming these harmful drinks and legal repercussions to producers and sellers.
All alcoholic drinks produced without complying with standards and other laws in Rwanda are classified as ‘simple narcotic drugs’ under article 5 of the Ministerial Order No.001/MoH/2019 of 04/03/2019 establishing the list of narcotic drugs and their categorization.
Under article 263 of the law determining offences and penalties in general in Rwanda, anyone convicted for dealing in “simple narcotic drugs” faces between seven and ten years in prison and a fine of between Frw5 million and Frw10 million.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police spokesperson for the Southern region, said that the operations in Rwikibogo cell were in response to high cases of illegal production plants and bars selling assorted illicit drinks.
In Nyagatare, CIP Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said that Nkuriyingoma has been producing Umuneza drink for the last two weeks without a licence issued by Rwanda Standards Board (RSB).
“Residents provided information about a fenced house where motorcycles have been picking unknown luggage. Police and local leaders responded on Saturday at about mid-day and found Nkuriyingoma producing the alcoholic drink without a licence and seized over 1400 litres which he had already produced. Authorities were also not aware of of his business,” CIP Twizeyimana said.
He added that Nkuriyingoma was operating clandestinely in a fenced house to prevent being detected.
He was selling the substances in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts.
The spokesperson thanked the residents, who raised the suspicions and led to the seizure of the substances, dismantle the illegal brewery and to arrest the suspect.