HANFORD, Calif. -- An 18-year-old central California woman was sentenced to 13 years in prison for pimping and trafficking younger girls.
Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario was arrested in the city of Hanford in May 2016, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported. Though a juvenile, she was tried as an adult for human trafficking, sending threatening emails to a family member of at least one of the girls and making terrorist threats.
She was sentenced Monday, two days after her 18th birthday.
Hanford police Detective Richard Pontecorvo said Almario was the prime suspect in a pimping ring that involved girls who were 14 and 15.
Almario would post pictures of the girls on different websites for prostitution and then take them to motels to have sex, Pontecorvo said.
She often found the girls through friends and acquaintances or social media, he said.
"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," Pontecorvo said.
During that time, a mother of one of the victims was looking for her daughter, and Almario sent her threatening text messages, Pontecorvo said.
The case was surprising for the city, considering that Almario was both a juvenile and the prime pimping suspect, Pontecorvo said.
"It was a huge eye-opener for us," he told the newspaper.