San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New police unit issues 39 drag racing citations over the weekend

The first operation of a new anti-drag racing police unit resulted in 39 fines for drivers caught with fake license plates, driving without a license, or – not surprisingly – speeding.

Beginning last Thursday, police conducted raids in various parts of San José including Pavas, San Francisco de Dos Ríos and Desamparados.

The new task force, formed by officers from the Traffic Police, Judicial Investigation Police and National Police, removed license plates from seven vehicles and seized an altered car.

Vice Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) Silvia Bolaños said her office had received a request from a group of drag racers, known in Costa Rica as “picones,” to be allowed to use abandoned areas of the capital to hold races.

Bolaños added that officials are willing to study the proposal as long as the races don’t threaten the safety of other people.

“The ideal location would be a closed site, away from public roads, like the La Guácima racetrack,” Bolaños said. La Guácima is located in the province of Alajuela.

Since the entry into force of a new Traffic Law last year, drag races are sanctioned as criminal offenses. The fine for participating in races is ₡280,000 ($560), and offenders can face prison sentences of up to three years. Cops also can confiscate vehicles and suspend driver’s licenses for up to two years.

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