SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Damari William Singleton, a Sacramento man who attempted to recruit young women in the Bay Area for a sex trafficking operation from his jail cell, has been sentenced by a federal judge in San Jose to 17 1/2 years in prison, authorities said.

United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett announced in a joint statement Singleton was sentenced Tuesday to 210 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution to child victims of his sex trafficking scheme.

Singleton had pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children charges in January.

According to the plea agreement, from December of 2014 thorough early 2016, Singleton, along with various co-conspirators, operated a prostitution business throughout California.

He sold the sexual services of underage girls and adult women recruited on social media websites. Prosecutors said he targeted girls and women from troubled homes with histories of sexual abuse.

Singleton transported them throughout the state and across state borders to provide sexual services to adult customers. Specifically, Singleton corresponded with potential clients, posted advertisements for sexual services on “backpage.com,” transported the women and girls to and from their prostitution dates, secured apartments, condominiums and hotel rooms for use.

As described in the government’s sentencing memorandum, in approximately May, three months after Singleton pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children, the government became aware of his intention to establish and operate another sex trafficking enterprise from his jail cell.

Prosecutors began collecting and reviewing Singleton’s jail phoned calls. These calls revealed that between February and July, Singleton attempted to recruit young female inmates straight from jails throughout California and Nevada to work as prostitutes after they were released.

Singleton repeatedly emphasized to his out-of-custody accomplices the importance of picking up the women directly from jail so that they would not have any opportunity to escape his influence.

He wanted them “straight from the gates, straight into my house,” federal prosecutors said.

Singleton deliberately targeted young women between the ages of 18 and 25.

While in custody, Singleton sent public records requests to several sheriff’s offices and detention facilities throughout California and Nevada, including Fresno County, Placer County, Sacramento County, and Washoe County in Nevada, seeking biographical information on young female inmates, including their photographs, bail amounts, and projected release dates.

On the calls, he emphasized that his prime targets were the most vulnerable: foster kids, former drug addicts, and women who had nowhere else to go. Singleton stated that he was “gonna get an empire.”

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