Fresh details have emerged of the FBI raid leading to the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of grooming young girls on behalf of her former partner, the convicted paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The 58-year-old British heiress is due to appear in a New York court this week to face four charges of aiding Epstein in the trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse of minors, and two counts of perjury, which could see her imprisoned for 35 years.
Ms Maxwell is currently being held in New Hampshire, where more than 20 armed FBI agents and police officers conducted a raid on her secluded 156-acre hideout – named Tucked Away – on Thursday morning.
Spy planes are reported to have monitored the property for four hours prior to the 8:20am raid to ensure the daughter of late and controversial media mogul and MP Robert Maxwell was unable to flee.
Armed law officers allegedly broke down the building’s front door to find the former socialite “strangely” passive and subdued as she was placed in handcuffs, putting an end to a “high-stakes game of cat and mouse” which spanned the year following Epstein’s death in a Manhattan jail cell and cost the FBI “millions of dollars”, according to one agent.
“They had her, then they lost her,” the agent told the Mail on Sunday. “She was in Colorado and Wyoming then they lost her until she showed up in New Hampshire. It’s been a high-stakes game of cat and mouse.
“They had to build a case and put it in front of a grand jury. These things take time. She slipped through the net once but as soon as the grand jury came back with an indictment 10 days ago, it was on.”
Local police were only informed of the raid on Wednesday, while FBI agents had been gathering in the area since Monday, the paper reported.
Speaking of the raid itself, the agent said: “We drove at speed up the half-mile driveway in a convoy of 15 vehicles. And let’s just say, we didn’t knock politely on the door. It was smashed down.
“Maxwell was up and dressed, in the living room, wearing sweat pants and a top. Strangely she didn’t seem to have much reaction. It was like it wasn’t registering with her.”
Early on in their relationship, Ms Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend but later became his close friend and confidante, allegedly helping Epstein groom and procure young girls for the wealthy elite.
The indictment against Ms Maxwell, passed up by a grand jury in Manhattan, stated that she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse the victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18.”
It said some of the victims were as young as 14, with the abuse starting from “at least in or about” 1994 to about 1997, adding: “In some instances, Ms Maxwell was present for and participated in the sexual abuse of minor victims.”
Ms Maxwell has denied all allegations against her and is understood to plan to argue that she has immunity under a previous deal Epstein made with Florida prosecutors.