A Florida father and son were sentenced to a combined 30 years in federal prison on Friday over a scheme to traffic a 15-year-old Croatian girl into the United States for sex.
Jordan Jysae Pulido, 27, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. His father, Roberto Santana Jimenez, 62, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez-Covington returned the sentences against the two defendants, each of whom were previously convicted of myriad child exploitation offenses.
In October 2021, Pulido was found guilty of enticement and coercion of a minor, traveling out of the country to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and transporting a minor into the United States to engage in sexual activity, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He and his father were both found guilty of conspiracy to transport a minor into the country to engage in sexual activity.
“A child victim was rescued from these predators, and we hope this sentencing provides some closure on the path to recovery for them,” Homeland Security Investigations Tampa acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Westlove said in a press release.
The 2020 trial unveiled a plot to traffic the minor victim that began when then-23-year-old Pulido met the girl, 14 years old at the time, online via social media and began teaching her how to play guitar.
Starting in 2017, the guitar lessons went on for a few months before the younger defendant began to court the minor romantically. Over the internet, for nearly the course of a full year, Pulido enticed and coerced the teenager into sexual activity.
At the same time, the older defendant and his son worked on a plan for Pulido to travel to Croatia and meet the girl.
“Pulido sought Jimenez’s advice and counsel on how to persuade the child to engage in sexual activity when he traveled to Croatia,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a summary. “Jimenez coached Pulido on what to do and say to the child and directly communicated with the child about her sexual relationship with Pulido.”
As part of those online talks with the girl, Jimenez falsely cast himself as a medical doctor in order to provide her with advice about fertility and pregnancy — in order to avoid conceiving a child with his son.
In June 2018, Pulido took a plane from Florida and ended up in Croatia. There, he met the teenager he and his father had been grooming and deceiving online, the DOJ said. On the minor’s 15th birthday, Pulido proposed marriage and engaged in sexual activity with his victim.
The two flew back to Florida together in late July 2018.
At some point, the minor changed her mind and wanted to return to her country and family. But Jimenez had taken her passport and identification documents and refused to let the girl go back home.
On August 12, 2018, agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement rescued the child. An international investigation led to father and son defendants being indicted in September 2020.
“What began as a routine welfare check soon escalated,” FDLE Tampa Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell said. “Picking up on subtle signs, our agent knew something wasn’t right, and, by quickly gaining the victim’s trust, he was able to rescue this child from sexual abuse.”
[images via Pasco County Sheriff’s Office]
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