When Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario was 16 years old, she reportedly befriended younger girls and acted as their pimp, taking them to motels in Tulare County, California, where they were sold for sex.
On Monday, Almario, who just turned 18, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for human trafficking of children, among other charges.
Almario was tried as an adult despite being a juvenile when the crimes were committed, according to The Associated Press.
Almario was arrested in the city of Hanford, California, in May 2016. Police say she had lured a number of younger girls between 14 and 15 years old into a prostitution ring after meeting them through friends and social media. She posted their photographs on various prostitution websites and took the victims to motels to meet customers.
“These girls would run away for weekends or work a couple of nights,” Detective Richard Pontecorvo of the Hanford Police Department told the Fresno Bee.
Authorities said Almario’s prostitution racket went on for a few weeks last spring before she was caught. During that time, one of the victims’ mothers, who’d grown concerned about her daughter’s whereabouts, reportedly received threatening emails from Almario.
Pontecorvo said the unusual case was a “huge eye-opener” for the police department. Fortunately, he said Almario was caught “very early, so we were able to pull those girls out of that.”