A massive desert ranch south of Santa Fe is tied to a New Mexico state attorney general investigation targeting financier Jeffrey Epstein, based on reports.
News of the probe comes as Epstein, a 66-year-old registered sex offender in Florida and New York, faces new charges of sex trafficking underage girls in an indictment Manhattan federal prosecutors obtained last week.
Also drawing scrutiny is a New Mexico law that allowed Epstein to avoid having to register as a sex offender in the state.
“New Mexico continues to lag behind the rest of the country in strengthening outdated and weak laws that fail to protect our kids from abuse,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas told The Related Press in an emailed assertion. “This can be a huge black eye for our state.”
A Balderas spokesman confirmed his office had interviewed possible victims of Epstein who visited the ranch, the AP reported. The office has not said how many accusers were interviews or elaborated on what they say took place on the property.
In a 2015 court filing in Florida, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Epstein said she had been abused at several places, together with the New Mexico property, according to the AP.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution under an agreement that required him to spend 13 months in jail and register as a sex offender. The deal has been widely criticized for secretly ending a federal sex abuse investigation involving at the least 40 teenage girls on the time that could have landed him behind bars for life.