A group of Traffic Police officers, Judicial Investigation Police and National Police next week will begin joint surveillance operations aimed at stopping drag races, which take place mostly in the Costa Rican capital.
The new brigade was formally created on Thursday after a series of meetings of officials from three police squads.
Illegal street races frequently occur on different highways in Costa Rica, usually from Thursday to Saturday nights.
In the past, offenders would receive only a traffic citation. But since the entry into force of a new Traffic Law last year, drag races are now sanctioned as criminal offenses.
The fine for participating in the illegal races is ₡280,000 ($560), and offenders can now face prison sentences of up to three years. Cops also can confiscate vehicles and suspend driver’s licenses for up to two years.
At a Thursday meeting, officials from the new brigade also agreed to establish a schedule that ensures highway surveillance is permanent.
According to police, the routes preferred by drag racers include the Florencio del Castillo Highway (Cartago-San José), Route 27 (San José-Puntarenas), the southern stretch of the Circunvalación (a belt route around the capital), the San José-Pavas road (west of the capital) and the main entrance road to the province of Alajuela.