More than a 100 national police and Ecuador Internal Revenue Service officers (SRI) swooped down on a Cuenca neighborhood on Wednesday, confiscating cars and handing out legal writs for nonpayment of taxes.
The early morning raid in the Calles Amazona and Chile barrio neted 22 cars as well as other property the government said was taken from those who had not paid their taxes. The SRI said that those targeted owed $18 million to the government.
In addition to the confiscation of property, officers handed out legal orders prohibiting alleged offenders from selling or buying real estate or leaving the country.
The charges against 22 offenders including nonpayment of VAT, income and business taxes.
City’s 43,000 ‘panic buttons’ are reducing crime
Law enforcement officials say that there are 43,000 ‘panic buttons’ in Cuenca homes and businesses contected directly to emergency responders in the Cuenca area. They say the goal is to have 50,000 buttons in operation by the end of 2014.
A report issued by the national Ministry of the Interior says that Cuenca leads the country in installation and use of the buttons. It says that calls are often answered by police in as little as three minutes and that word is getting out to the criminal community.
“The service has been effective in reducing crime in areas where they are installed and are part of the reason for the overall reduction of illegal activities in Cuenca,” the ministry said. “Criminals are thinking twice now before they enter a house or business.”
The buttons are monitored 24 hours a day by Ecuador’s new ECU 911 system.
Photo caption: Police confiscate a car for back taxes.