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Epstein's Private Island Raided by Feds

One witness reported seeing 15 to 20 FBI agents at his estate
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2019 12:02 AM CDT
In this July 15, 2019 courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and his attorney Martin Weinberg listen during a bail hearing in federal court, in New York.   (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File)

(Newser) – "We were just trying to look at pretty fish and swim with turtles and here we are in the middle of an FBI raid." So said the leader of a sailing charter on Little St. James—a Caribbean island that just so happens to have been owned by Jeffrey Epstein. As NBC News reports, "a swarm of federal agents was seen fanning out across [the island] in golf carts" Monday morning, two days after Epstein was found unresponsive in his prison cell as he faced sex trafficking charges. The sailing charter owner says the allegations against Epstein were known locally for years; a law enforcement source tells NBC a search of Epstein's massive estate off the coast of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands was suggested years ago but apparently didn't happen until now.

The FBI confirmed to Fox News that agents were on the grounds of the home, but did not disclose details beyond that; the New York Daily News puts the number of agents at more than a dozen. The Daily News notes that in addition to possibly uncovering evidence that could be used to charge others in the case, such evidence might also be used "as fodder for a civil forfeiture action aimed at seizing the property to provide restitution to his alleged victims." Last month, Bloomberg ran an extensive piece about the island, which has been called "Pedophile Island" and "Orgy Island" by locals. A former worker told the news outlet there was a steel safe in Epstein's office that was carefully guarded, suggesting there was more than cash inside. (William Barr said Monday that any of Epstein's co-conspirators "should not rest easy.")

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