Quepos mayor busted in porn sting shunned police, locals say

December 23, 2011

Underage girls, sex tapes and rental cars – these are some of the things that Lutgardo Bolaños, mayor of Aguirre Municipality on the Pacific coast, allegedly spent public money on, according to a report issued by the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

Bolaños and his driver were arrested, according to the report, after a four-month investigation. Bolaños allegedly used public funds to make pornographic videos with minors – examples of which, the report indicated, were found on the hard drive of his personal computer. Bolaños also may have rented cars to make trips to different parts of the country to hire vulnerable girls for his films, the report said.

On Wednesday morning, OIJ agents raided two homes and municipal facilities in Quepos, resulting in the seizure of more than 600 compact discs possibly containing pornography and other types of evidence, the report said.

Some locals from the Quepos area expressed surprise at news of the arrest.

“A few days ago, someone mentioned that the mayor had problems,” said Javier Delgado, a resident of Punta Mira, a town in the mountains east of Quepos. “I didn’t expect anything like this, but if it is true, and if he has been using public money and doing bad things, then it’s good that the law is going to punish him.”

Residents of Punta Mira had been engaged in a long-running feud with Bolaños over the maintenance of roads in the area, which wash out each year during the rainy season,  leaving residents stranded (TT, Oct. 7).

An official from the Aguirre Municipality  who was suspended from his duties in November said that even before his suspension there had been rumors about Bolaños’ activities, particularly regarding frequent trips the mayor made with his driver.

The official, who asked not to be named, said he could not comment on Bolaños’ use of municipality money due to his suspension in recent weeks, but added that the OIJ “has experience in these matters,” and that public funds and the mayor’s travels had been “issues” in the administration.

Harry Bodaan, a hotel owner and president of the Aguirre Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, said he and other chamber members had been suspicious of Bolaños before he became mayor last year.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Bodaan said. “There have been lots of rumors. As president of the chamber, we receive lots of information, and I think it was just a matter of time [before Bolaños got into trouble].”

Bodaan described Bolaños as uncooperative with the private sector in Quepos and said the mayor had a penchant for making empty promises.

“The chamber, through its publications, warned the public [before Bolaños’ election],” Bodaan said. “But it’s a free country. There are a lot of allegations pending and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

 Bodaan said that as mayor, Bolaños gave little support to local police.

“It was like he didn’t want any law enforcement in his backyard, and now we know why,” Bodaan said.

Bodaan said the mayor had fired or suspended numerous municipal employees.

“We don’t know how far these allegations are going to go,” Bodaan said. “But all the employees that he fired were kind of his downfall. This is a small community; everybody knows what everybody does.”

The OIJ report indicates that Bolaños rented cars to make trips to marginal areas in  Los Guido, Pavas, La Carpio, Desamparados, Coronado, Pérez Zeledón, Quepos and Golfito.

Bolaños and his driver were transferred into the custody of the prosecutor’s office to determine their judicial standing.

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