Police arrested 59-year-old Joaquín Burgues at his hotel in Guachipelín de Escazú this weekend on allegations that he was pimping underage prostitutes at his business, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).
Investigators conducted a raid early Saturday morning after receiving an anonymous tip on Burgues’ hotel. Officials said that Burgues, a native of Spain, would take a cut of the ₡70,000 that women charged clients at his hotel bar. Although prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, pimping is not.
During the 2 a.m. raid on the establishment located just off Calle Vieja between Escazú and Santa Ana, authorities found five apparent prostitutes, including one Nicaraguan girl under the age of 16.
Although it is legal to have consensual sex with a girl as young as 15 in Costa Rica, it is illegal to solicit a prostitute who is under 18 years old, according to a lawyer who was consulted by The Tico Times.
OIJ officials also found the two young daughters of Burgues sleeping in a bedroom at the hotel, as well as four minors who were children of the bar’s waitstaff. Following the owner’s arrest, the minors are now in the custody of the Child Welfare Office (PANI).
The hotel and bar has since been shut down and stripped of its permits, according to OIJ.