EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 18, 2013

Crackdown on out-of-town cabbies heats up

LAWRENCE — Three drivers for an Andover cab company were given $500 citations yesterday for allegedly picking up passengers in the city and two others were cited for other infractions as police bore down on the out-of-town hacks.

The five citations — including one for an infraction that allegedly occurred three days earlier — were written a day after the owner of the Andover company sought a court order blocking Lawrence from enforcing a month-old law banning the drivers for out-of-town cab companies from picking up fares in the city.

Ramon Tapia, owner of Andover Central Transportation Corp., alleged the five tickets his drivers received in Lawrence yesterday are retaliation for his lawsuit and for a story about it published in The Eagle-Tribune.

“This is personal,” Tapia said as the citations piled up yesterday, noting that the three citations for picking up fares in Lawrence his drivers had received by 3:30 p.m., was one more than they received in all of last week. “They’re trying to show they’re in power, like they’re in control.”

“That’s ridiculous,” responded Lawrence police Capt. Roy Vasque, who runs the unit that oversees the cab industry in Lawrence. “If someone thinks they’re being targeted, if that’s the word they’re using, they should file a complaint with the Police Department and have an investigation. No one is being cited for anything more than failure to comply with city ordinances or motor vehicle violations.”

Among the drivers ticketed yesterday was Luis Urena, who was stopped as he pulled from the driveway at his Water Street home and cited by Police Officer Jose Flores for allegedly picking up a fare on Park Street three days earlier.

Vasque said Flores wasn’t able to catch up with the driver after the pickup on Tuesday and “didn’t want to start a pursuit over a cab fare.”

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