An 18-year-old California woman was sentenced to 13 years behind bars for her role in running a prostitution ring.
Police in Hanford arrested Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario in May 2016. She was sentenced on Monday in Kings County Superior Court, two days after her 18th birthday.
Although a juvenile at the time of her arrest, she was tried as an adult for human trafficking, sending threatening emails to the family of at least one of the girls and making terrorist threats. The ring involved four girls between the ages of 14 and 15, officials said.
Almario’s scheme involved posting pictures of the younger girls – who she found through friends or on social media – on different websites for prostitution, then taking the girls to various local motels, police officials said.
“These girls would run away for weekends or work a couple of nights,” Hanford police Detective Richard Pontecorvo told the Sacramento Bee.
“These people are great at locating kids with low self-esteem and trying to be their friend, and then it obviously changes once they started working for her,” said Pontecorvo, according to the paper.
During the time before the ring was broken up, one of the mothers of one of the victims was looking for her daughter, and Almario sent her threatening text messages, which was how the police were able to stop Almario and arrest her.
“We were able to get these girls back home and get them the help they needed,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “But these pimps are ruining these kids’ lives at an early age.”