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Posted at 02:36 PM ET, 09/14/2012

Gang leader sentenced to 40 years in juvenile sex trafficking ring

A former leader of a Fairfax County-based Crips gang was sentenced Friday to 40 years in prison for running what a federal prosecutor said was the largest underage sex trafficking ring ever seen in the D.C. area.

Justin Strom, 27, of Lorton, headed the ring from 2006 through March 2012, authorities said. They said at least eight teenage girls, as well as adult women, were prostituted in Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District.

“I accept responsibility and am sorry for the pain that I have done,” Strom said in court. “I’m sorry for my actions.”

Some girls involved in the ring testified during the hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, and stood only feet away from Strom. The girls had been recruited through social media sites, at Metro stations and bus stops and even in high schools, officials said.

One woman, now 20-years-old, said she had been a normal high school kid who played soccer and had friends when she met Strom at 16.

Her life has been turned upside down, she testified. She said she has been through rehab 3 times and attempted to commit suicide.

“I still feel broken and worthless,” the woman said. “I feel like I’m at the bottom and can’t get out.”

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, called Strom the “CEO” of the largest juvenile sex trafficking ring in the area.

By  |  02:36 PM ET, 09/14/2012

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