Tourists and expats are among those nabbed for drunk driving and public drinking under new law; police say: ’tis the season

Dec 15, 2014

Cuenca municipal police and national transit police continue to chalk up arrests for drinking in public and driving under the influence.

Since the new city ordinance outlawing drinking in public places went into effect three weeks ago, municipal police report making more than 70 arrests. This includes 15 arrests Friday and Saturday nights, most of them in the historic district and on Av. Remigio Crespo.

Enforcement of the drunk driving law has also been stepped up, according to transit police, who say that they expect to make more arrests during the holiday season than during any period of the year.

Police say that four tourists and two expats were among those arrested in December. The tourists, who police say were backpackers, were all arrested for public drinking. One expat, an Argentinian, was arrested for driving while intoxicated while another, a Canadian, was nabbed for drinking in public on Calle Larga.

Municipal police say they are making most of the public drinking arrests in the El Merced neighborhood of the historic district, particularly around the Calle Larga intersections with Borrero and Luis Cordero.

Transit police report making 84 arrrestes for drunk driving with almost half of them being made on Calle Larga, between the Todo Santos church and the Todo Santos bridge.

“We are serious about enforcing the law,” said Gustavo Ruiz of the municipal police. “This is the time of year when excessive drinking is the biggest problem and we do not want it to get out of hand,” he said.

Those arrested for driving while intoxicated are fined between $340 and $1,020 and jailed for five to 30 days, depending on blood alcohol levels. First-time public drinking arrests carry a $170 fine.