Police have seized 164 pellets and 1kg of khat commonly known as mirungi from two suspected dealers in Nyagatare and Kirehe districts.
One suspect only identified as Joseph was arrested recently in Nyagatare, Rwemasha Sector, Retare Cell, Mashaka Village with 164 pellets of mirungi.
Meanwhile, another suspected trafficker of khat is still in hiding after he abandoned his bicycle and a bag of mirungi on Tuesday in Kirehe, Kigarama Sector, Kigarama Cell in Humura Village.
“Mirungi is treated like cannabis and other narcotics… it is a narcotic drug and dealers face the same law that punishes anyone carrying out acts related to the use of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances,” Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the Police spokesperson for the Eastern region, said.
Majority of mirungi traffickers are arrested in Nyagatare and Kirehe districts being trafficked either from Uganda or Tanzania, respectively.
The crime carries a sentence of ranging from seven years to life imprisonment as stipulated under article 263 of the new penal code.
Mirungi remains one of the less talked about psychotropic substances composed of leaves of a wild plant, and considered harmful to users. It was classifies as narcotic drug with psychological dependence, in 1980 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Medical experts say the use of khat cause many side effects including mood changes, excessive talkativeness, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, manic behaviour, paranoia, and psychoses. Insomnia or trouble sleeping, loss of energy (malaise), and lack of concentration usually follow.
It contains two mild stimulants; cathinone and cathine, and is associated with increased risk for a variety of medical complications, including dental disease and mouth cancers, heart problems, liver disease, sleep problems and reduced appetite.