A 39-year-old woman in Santa Cruz de Guanacaste was arrested Thursday night for running an underage prostitution ring, a customer was arrested Friday morning. (Fiscalia)

A businessman in Guanacaste was arrested Friday morning for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl, for which he paid her ¢50,000 colones or US$90 dollars for each encounter.

The man, identified only by his name Merino Brenes, 56 years of age, a resident of Barrio Limon in Santa Cruz de Guanacaste, was arrested by Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) – judicial agents when arrived at the judicial offices after being summoned by authorities.

The Ministerio Publico (Prosecutor’s Office) reported the 17-year-old was part of an underage prostitution ring of at least 10 girls who were sexually exploited by a 39-year-old woman identified as Gutierrez Guillen, who was also arrested Thursday night in a downtown Santa Cruz hotel.

The arrests came after a 3-month investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office Against the Trafficking of Persons and Illicit Trafficking of Migrants.

During the investigation, undercover agents were able to determine that Gutierrez recruited underage girls for prostitution. Apparently, she had a catalog of girls, promoting their photos by way of Whatsapp to friends who then forwarded them to third parties.

An undercover agent was able to make contact with Gutierrez and arranged a meeting outside a hotel in Santa Cruz, for Thursday night, to contract one her underage girls.

The Fiscalia said the man was arrested because during the investigation he was seen arriving in a vehicle near the house of the minor, picking her up and take her to a house, were supposedly alcohol and drugs were consumed and had sexual encounter with her, for which he paid ¢50,000 colones for each encounter.

Gutierrez is being charged with the trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation (pimping), while Merino faces charges of sexual exploitation and sex with a minor.

Gutierrez and Merino face multiple years in prison on conviction.