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50 Traffic Cops Detained This Year For Corruption

We have all been or know someone who has been the victim of corrupt traffic cops. But that soon could be a thing of the past in Costa Rica, as transit officials continue their crack down of those officials who stick their hands in the pockets of drivers.

So far this year the crack down has led to the arrest of 50 officials of he Policía de Tránsito, the latest being last Thursday in Siquirres, an undercover Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ agent using marked money paid off a ¢20.000 colones bride.

According to Cesar Quiros, director of the traffic police, many of the crooked cops are with 10 and 15 years service and working the areas of San José, Cartago, Heredia, Limón and Guanacaste.

Quiros added that the majority fell into the hands of undercover OIJ agents who were asked for "mordidas" (brides) of ¢10.000 and ¢20.000, up to ten times the usual bribe before the high fines that went into effect on March 1, 2010.

The officials caught asked drivers to dig into their wallets in exchange for not writing up a traffic ticket. In most cases, the officials operated alone and in remote areas and at night, while several were part of a network of crooked traffic cops sharing the take.

"It is a shame because we now have people with experience outside the institution, agents that could lead the newer but never mind. We will continue this line of action in the fight against corruption", said Quios.

Last August, seven traffic cops were taken into custody in Cartago in "one stroke" for irregularities at a weigh station in that province.

"The people can rest assured that we will act ruthlessly and with a heavy hand," director Quiros stressed.



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