Florida

FBI raids Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘pedophile island’ estate as investigation continues

Watch raid on Jeffrey Epstein’s island

Watch as FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York police and local officers arrive at Jeffery Epstein’s infamous Virgin Islands hideaway, nicknamed “pedophile island,” on Monday, August 12.
Up Next
Watch as FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York police and local officers arrive at Jeffery Epstein’s infamous Virgin Islands hideaway, nicknamed “pedophile island,” on Monday, August 12.

On the same day Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on arrival at a New Jersey airport on sex trafficking charges, federal agents bashed in the door of his $77 million Manhattan mansion and seized evidence to aid in his prosecution. But the multimillionaire’s Virgin Islands hideaway, where the wealthy hedge fund manager allegedly trafficked girls for sex and entertained politicians, businessmen and scientists, seemingly remained untouched by the law.

That changed Monday.

FBI agents — accompanied by Customs personnel, local police and New York City officers, according to a Virgin Islands source — fanned out in golf carts across Epstein’s estate on Little St. James Island. They scooped up evidence just two days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell of an apparent suicide while in federal custody in Manhattan.

Victims of Jeffrey Epstein share the emotional toll that sexual abuse has taken on them — even years after the abuse occurred. Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown interviewed the young women, most speaking for the first time about Epstein.

The raid underscores that the criminal investigation into Epstein will continue despite his death while awaiting trial in New York City. Ultimately, prosecutors could expose an alleged sex trafficking conspiracy with tentacles across the financier’s vast real estate holdings, including opulent homes in New York, Palm Beach, New Mexico and Paris.

Federal prosecutors had said in an indictment that they intended to confiscate Epstein’s properties if they were used to facilitate the sexual abuse of minors. That hasn’t changed, although Epstein’s death before he could be brought to trial may complicate matters.

Jeffrey-Epstein.jpg
Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell after committing suicide. Miami Herald

The secluded spit of land, sometimes referred to as “pedophile island” in the aftermath of Epstein’s initial prosecution in 2007-2008, has hosted Epstein’s rich and famous friends and associates over the years in addition to his ever-present entourage of young women.

Epstein, who developed an intense interest in scientific discovery, also invited renowned scientists to join him there for conferences.

He bought the island for $7.95 million in 1998, and built an extravagant estate with a 24,000-square-foot private home, swimming pools, cabanas and other structures on a 70-acre swath of oceanfront land studded with palm trees.

Any evidence seized in the raid could prove key to prosecutors as they seek to press charges against Epstein’s associates, as Attorney General William Barr promised they will. The earlier raid of Epstein’s Manhattan home following his arrest yielded a passport under a fake name, assorted diamonds, nude and semi-nude photographs of possible minors and other evidence suggesting a complex criminal enterprise.

The FBI and police raided Jeffrey Epstein’s home on the island of Little St. James in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a sign that the investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking of girls will continue despite his death.

It was not clear why authorities waited more than a month between Epstein’s arrest and the raid on his island home.

Epstein, 66, was found dead Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, one day after a federal court unsealed nearly 2,000 pages of Epstein-related documents that offered sordid details of the alleged trafficking of girls by the financier and his ex-girlfriend and purported madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.

The documents alleged a conspiracy that took place over a number of years in the early- to mid-2000s, with Epstein’s island — and his waterfront estate in Palm Beach — as frequent backdrops.

In one record released Friday, a butler described an interaction he’d had with a 15-year-old au pair who came to the United States from Sweden. The butler, who like the au pair worked for two of Epstein’s close friends, said she had been taken to the private island and ordered to have sex with Epstein and others. In his sworn statement, the butler said that the girl, distraught and sobbing, told him that Epstein and Maxwell had physically threatened her and taken her passport to keep her on the island.

Virginia Roberts was working at Mar-a-Lago when she was recruited to be a masseuse to Palm Beach hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein. She was lured into a life of depravity and sexual abuse.

In other sworn testimony, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, said that Epstein once held a dinner for Bill Clinton on the island. The former president, who has acknowledged traveling multiple times on Epstein’s private jet, has denied ever being on Little St. James.

David Boies, attorney for Giuffre, said none of the evidence in the file — generated as part of a slander suit by Giuffre against Maxwell — implicated Clinton or one of Epstein’s other close friends, President Donald Trump, in any sexual wrongdoing.

Epstein had been held since July 6, when he was arrested at New Jersey’s Teterboro airport upon arrival in his private jet after a flight from Paris. He was facing allegations of trafficking and sexually abusing girls as young as 14 — alleged activities dating back to the early 2000s.

Sp_Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.48.53 PM.png
With the death of Jeffrey Epstein, federal prosecutors could refocus their efforts on the alleged enablers of his sex trafficking scheme, including socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

On Monday, Attorney General Barr pledged an aggressive investigation into the federally operated jail where Epstein had been held and where he had reportedly tried to take his life weeks earlier.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation,” Barr said in New Orleans while addressing the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Barr also said the Justice Department will seek out all conspirators who enabled Epstein to carry out his alleged crimes.

“Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” he said.

Asked whether he believes that former President Bill Clinton had anything to do with the death of Jeffrey Epstein, Trump replied on August 13, 2019, "I have no idea." Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory about Clinton's involvement in Epstein's death.

Follow more of our reporting on

See all 9 stories
Related stories from Bradenton Herald

  Comments