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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.  — A 31-year-old St. Pete man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking minors, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced on Friday.

Julius Marcus Arline turned himself in to authorities in July of 2021. He pled guilty on March 11, 2022.

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Arline and his co-defendant, Leslie Reio, enticed two underage victims, ages 14 and 15, to a St. Pete hotel room where they forced them to commit commercial sex acts between March 6-14, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The victims were rescued after they were forced to take sexually explicit photos of themselves that were used as online ads for sex with strangers. The victims were kept in the hotel where they were given illegal drugs and forced to take part in a number of sex dates over an eight-day period, officials said. After they were forced to have sex and get payment, the victims were required to give money to Arline and Reio.

“Child sex trafficking is happening every day, and this significant sentence exemplifies HSI’s commitment to protecting children from sex trafficking crimes and victimization,” said HSI Tampa acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Silliman. “HSI, alongside St. Petersburg Police Department, are committed to locating, and recovering child victims, as well as ensuring predators are held responsible for their heinous crimes.”

Reio is set to be sentenced on July 8.

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