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Ringleader sentenced for luring teen girls into prostitution

The leader of a human trafficking and prostitution ring that lured teenage girls from the Inland Empire was sentenced Monday to 30 years in federal prison.

Paul Edward Bell, 30, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and admitted to forcing four girls between 15 and 17 years old into working as prostitutes in Lynwood and Compton, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.

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Bell, a Lynwood gang member, led a ring that involved at least eight people, including three lead prostitutes, who "groomed" girls into prostitution and eventually trafficked them to Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, officials say, Bell beat and threatened his victims and held a gun to one woman's head. Authorities later learned the girls were being lured from Inland Empire schools.

Other members of the ring have already been convicted. The group was indicted in 2012.

Twitter: @josephserna

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