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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Gang member sentenced to nearly 20 years for sex trafficking teen

Female victim was marketed on craigslist

SAN DIEGO — A member of the West Coast Crips gang was sentenced Thursday to 236 months in federal prison on charges stemming from a joint, sex trafficking probe by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the San Diego Police Department's vice squad that linked him to a scheme involving a 15-year-old girl he recruited to work as a prostitute.

Jonathan Jamar Sanders, 28, known as "Sincere," pleaded guilty in federal court in January to sex trafficking of a minor. Sanders admitted he recruited a 15-year-old girl he met on the street in National City to work as a prostitute so he could get the proceeds she earned. Sanders advertised her services online by posting photos of the minor, along with the price for her prostitution services, on craigslist.

"Sex trafficking is a form of modern day slavery often occurring in plain sight," said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. "This is a significant sentence, which serves as a warning to other predators who attempt to sexually exploit minors. We are committed to combating domestic trafficking by sharing resources and our expertise with state and local law enforcement authorities to wipe out all forms of sex trafficking in our communities."

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Dana M Sabraw. In addition to the lengthy prison term, Judge Sabraw sentenced Sanders to seven years of supervised released upon completion of his prison term, and ordered him to register as a sex offender.

Sanders' two co-defendants, Shakeeya Greer, 28, and Dominque Belton, 27, both of San Diego, were sentenced earlier this year after pleading guilty to related charges. According to court records, the women also worked as prostitutes for Sanders and taught the 15-year-old female the "rules of the game," including where to walk, who to talk to and how much to charge for different sex acts.

Anyone who suspects instances of human trafficking is encouraged to call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or ICE's toll-free tip line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. Individuals may also report information online by visiting www.ICE.gov/tips.