SANTA FE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A well-connected, billionaire hedge fund manager who owns a remote New Mexico hideaway is now accused of sex trafficking underage girls. Federal agents arrested 66-year-old Jeffrey Epstein over the weekend as he returned to the United States from Paris.
Epstein is accused of recruiting a network of dozens of teen girls in what prosecutors have described as a sex trafficking ring involving girls as young as 14-year-old. Prosecutors believe Epstein sexually abused the girls at his homes in on the east coast between 2002 and 2005.
“The underage girls were initially recruited to provide Epstein with massages and often did so nude or partially nude,” said Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for New York. “These massages became increasingly sexual in nature.”
While Epstein’s name has been in and out of national headlines for allegations out of New York and Florida, he also has a New Mexico connection.
Epstein is the owner of the “Zorro Ranch” north of Moriarty near Stanley, New Mexico. The remote compound sits on hundreds of acres of private property less than an hour from the metro.
KRQE News 13’s Sky News 13 helicopter flew over the compound Monday which sits atop of a bluff in the New Mexico desert in southern Santa Fe County. Several works could be seen doing work on fixtures out of the property, which is adorned with large “Z” lettering.
Epstein, who’s now charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy, pleaded not guilty to the alleged crimes in New York federal court Monday. Federal authorities also raided his New York townhome.
An attorney for at least one of the victims in the case, David Boies called the indictment gratifying for the victim.
“This is something that our clients have been subject to an enormous amount of verbal abuse, that compounded the sexual abuse they suffered.” Boies said. “They have been attacked and this is very, very welcome and gratifying vindication for them.”
Epstein was facing similar federal charges in Florida back in 2008. He pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges, avoiding a possible life sentence in the federal case.
As part of that case, Epstein did briefly register as a sex offender in New Mexico in 2010.
Epstein’s New Mexico ranch hasn’t been named in the latest indictment, however, CBS News reports that older Florida court documents tied to Epstein indicate that some of Epstein’s alleged victims were said to have been taken to the Zorro Ranch in New Mexico.
In May 2019, federal prosecutors were asking any New Mexico victims of Epstein to come forward.