New Mexico Authorities Probing Epstein’s Ranch Over Abuse Allegations

July 14, 2019 Updated: July 14, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein’s secluded “Zorro Ranch” property is being investigated by New Mexico authorities, who are assisting another probe into the financier by federal authorities in New York.

New Mexico officials are interviewing people who allege they were abused at Epstein’s ranch in Stanley, adding that they are planning to provide additional evidence to federal authorities, according to Matt Baca, the spokesman for New Mexico’s attorney general.

Their office has been in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where Epstein is being held on new federal charges that are similar to those he faced in 2008. Court documents say Epstein sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at different locations.

At a court appearance in Manhattan federal court on July 8, Epstein pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. The charges carry with them a maximum sentence of 45 years if convicted. He remains behind bars until his July 15 bail hearing.

While Epstein hasn’t faced criminal charges in New Mexico, he was accused in a 2015 court filing in Florida of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl in several locations, including New Mexico.

Epstein, who federal prosecutors say is worth more than $500 million, owns and maintains “luxury properties and residences around the world,” a bail memorandum by the Southern District of New York said.

These residences include locations in Manhattan, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Stanley, New Mexico; and Paris, according to the bail memorandum. Epstein also has a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Epstein’s property in New Mexico covers thousands of acres and is known as the “Zorro Ranch.” At the center of the rural swath of high desert sits a massive, million-dollar home.

Aerial images of the property show an airplane hangar and landing strip. Closer to the east edge of the property, several structures that appear to serve as small homes and horse stables stand in public view.

In the past 18 months, Epstein traveled on his private jet, “either into or out of the country on approximately more than 20 occasions,” according to the July 8 government bail memorandum. Epstein has at least “two private jets in active service.”

Records show Epstein purchased the ranch, which is valued by county officials at over $12 million, from the family of former Gov. Bruce King, whose son, Gary King, was the state attorney general from 2007 to 2015.

Epstein has been a registered as a sex offender in Florida since 2008 as part of a non-prosecution agreement he signed. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison that year as part of the plea deal.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said he wants to change a law that allowed Epstein to escape registering as a sex offender in the state. He said he will renew his push for legislation that would require anyone with a sex trafficking conviction to register as a sex offender in New Mexico.

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a July 8 press conference that prosecutors are asking for Epstein to be detained until trial.

Berman also confirmed previous reports that said Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on July 6, after his private plane landed from France.

“The alleged behavior shocks the conscience,” Berman said. “And while the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims, now young women.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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