Accused child sex trafficker and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s private island was the subject of a major FBI raid Monday that was joined by law personnel from U.S. Customs and Border Protection along with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office task force on the case.
The multi-agency raid on the island of Little St. James, infamously dubbed “Pedophile Island,” was confirmed by a spokesman for the FBI to NBC News after British tabloid the Daily Mail published photos and details about a large group of FBI special agents arriving to the island on speedboats and swarming it on golf carts.
BREAKING / NBC News: Two senior law enforcement officials say that the FBI and members of the task force belonging to the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office focusing on the Jeffrey Epstein investigation are searching his home in the Virgin Islands.
Reported w/ @jonathan4ny
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) August 12, 2019
An anonymous onlooker who captured footage of the raid said:
“I’m on a boat charter with guests. We are the only guests out here at the moment. We were enjoying lunch when we saw over a dozen people getting off their speedboats and landing on the island.”
The FBI and NYPD are conducting a raid on Jeffrey Epstein’s "pedophile island" where he’d previously hosted some of the most powerful people in the world. Let’s all pray that the island finds a way of revealing everything those powerful people fear it will.pic.twitter.com/Eois6lkDbP
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 12, 2019
For years, allegations have circulated that underage girls were held captive as sex slaves and faced horrible abuse on the island, including in a strange temple-like structure.
According to Bloomberg:
“Back in his heyday, before his 2008 guilty plea in Florida, Epstein would visit his piece of the Virgin Islands archipelago about two or three times a month for stays of three or four days, according to the former staffer, who asked not to be named because Epstein insisted on secrecy from his employees. He described it as a Zen-like retreat when Epstein was there, padding around shirtless in shorts and flip-flops, with meditative music piped into the area around the main house, the cabanas and the pool, where women would sometimes sunbathe topless or in the nude.”
The island appears to have avoided attention from law enforcement officials until now. Despite the many rumors, the telling nickname of “Pedophile Island,” and reports from locals, Little St. James appeared to be operating as usual since Epstein’s arrest.
Thanks to a YouTube account by the name of “Rusty Shackleford,” photographs and drone footage of the island have recently been made available to the public. The first video showcasing the island previously shrouded in mystery was posted on July 10 and was supposedly recorded in April of 2019—prior to Epstein’s arrest.
Footage of the island, both from drone and filmed from a nearby boat, has shown employees working and tending to the landscaping in addition to showing evidence of construction, leading some to question whether evidence related to the case was being destroyed, hidden, or tampered with.
Prior to the footage released on YouTube, few images of Little St. James were available online.
Epstein, 66, was arrested in early July on sex trafficking charges. However, this is apparently the first such raid by federal agents on the notorious island property. The deceased financier bought the 71.5-acre island in 1998 for $7.95 million.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, had pled guilty in 2008 to prostitution charges filed by Florida prosecutors related to soliciting a minor. However, he was largely let off the hook by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta in a non-prosecution plea relating to his sexual exploitation of underage girls.
The search follows a dramatic chain of events surrounding the case of Epstein, who counted Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among his friends, which has included a large number of notable figures from political elites across the globe—ranging from U.S. lawmakers to U.K. royalty, Israeli defense figures, and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.
On Friday, 2,000 pages of court documents were unsealed that confirmed how the disgraced financier was accused in 2016 of sending an underage girl to meet and have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) and former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) as part of his sex ring, fueling the government case against the accused sex trafficker. While the documents contained little new information, the release of the documents served as an opportunity for the mainstream media to finally acknowledge just how deep and dark the Epstein case truly is.
On Saturday, the wealthy financier was found dead in his jail cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan of an apparent hanging. At the time of his death, Epstein was being held in custody without bond.
Epstein’s death came barely two weeks after he was discovered in a fetal position with marks around his neck in his cell, raising questions about the circumstances of his incarceration and the absence of measures that would have prevented him from taking his own life.
MCC protocol had required that prison guards would check on Epstein every half hour, but the procedure was apparently ignored on the night of his death. He was being held in the special housing unit (SHU) of the prison, where inmates are held in isolation from the general population. It was revealed on Sunday that no video footage of the inside of Epstein’s cell at MCC exists.
Epstein faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted for his crimes. Prosecutors accused Epstein of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls for years—including those as young as 14—at his luxurious properties in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in Palm Beach, Florida.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating the billionaire pedophile’s death.
The FBI raid comes on the same day that U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that co-conspirators in the sex-trafficking ring “should not rest easy.” At a police event in New Orleans, Barr noted that he was “angry” that Epstein’s jailers failed to prevent his suicide, saying:
“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
The FBI is now investigating the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.
This is the same FBI that:
– Investigated Hillary Clinton and did nothing.
– Failed to stop the Parkland shooter.
– Leaked classified information to the press.
– Used an unverified dossier to obtain FISA warrants.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) August 11, 2019