She met four teen girls through social media and acquaintances and quickly tried to befriend them. But it wasn't their friendship Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario was after, say police in Hanford, Calif. Over the next few weeks in 2016, Almario, then just 16, pimped the girls, aged 14 and 15, by posting their photos on prostitution websites and driving them to meet clients at motels in Tulare County, Detective Richard Pontecorvo tells the Fresno Bee. Thankfully, "we caught her case very early," he adds. Almario was arrested in May 2016 and charged as an adult with human trafficking and making terrorist threats. On Monday, two days after her 18th birthday, she was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
"It was a huge eye-opener for us," Pontecorvo says of the case, heard in Kings County Superior Court. "We were able to get these girls back home and get them the help they needed … but these pimps are ruining these kids' lives at an early age." Pimps like Almario, he adds, per UPI, "are great at locating kids with low self-esteem and trying to be their friend, and then it obviously changes." For example, Almario once sent threatening emails to the mother of one of her victims who was simply looking for her daughter, reports the AP. Pontecorvo explains the girls Almario targeted "would run away for weekends or work a couple of nights." (A teen says she was forced to have sex with 1,000 men at this hotel.)