The Washington Post

Gang member sentenced to life in prison

A 24-year-old gang member was sentenced to life in prison Friday for prostituting a 12-year-old girl over several months in 2009.

Jose Circo Juarez-Santamaria, a citizen of El Salvador who was convicted by a federal jury in July for conspiracy, sex trafficking and transportation of a minor for prostitution, said nothing during the sentencing in Alexandria’s federal court.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady called the crimes “heinous” and told Juarez-Santamaria that the gang member needed to be locked away for life because he “was without question a terrible danger to the community.”

“What you did was just horrible,” O’Grady said. “You preyed on a 12-year-old who asked you for help.”

A member of MS-13, a violent street gang, Juarez-Santamaria came across the girl, a runaway seeking his help, at a party in October 2009. He then prostituted her through December of that year, charging $40 for 15 minutes of sex. He is expected to appeal the verdict and sentence.

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