The FBI detained Ghislaine Maxwell last year after they managed to track the former associate of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to her New Hampshire hideaway using the British socialite's cell phone data, according to a newly unsealed affidavit.
The document, filed by an FBI agent on 1 July and seen by the news outlet Daily Beast, revealed how the feds first obtained a warrant in New York to access GPS and historical cell site data for Maxwell.
The feds earlier found out the Epstein associate had used a mobile phone number under the name "G Max" to contact her husband Scott Borgerson, as well as her sister Isabel and lawyer Laura Menninger, the affifavit revealed. This helped the FBI to narrow down their search for the alleged Epstein accomplice to a one square mile radius in New Hampshire, even though the data did not define the 58-year-old's exact location in the area.
That's why the feds obtained another New Hampshire warrant, allowing them to "use an investigative device or devices capable of broadcasting signals that would be received" by Maxwell's phone "or receiving signals from nearby cellular devices", including the UK socialite's device, according to the affidavit.
"Such a device [known as a 'stingray'] may function in some respects like a cellular tower, except that it will not be connected to the cellular network and cannot be used by a cell phone to communicate with others", the document pointed out.
The FBI reportedly managed to locate and arrest Maxwell within 24 hours of the second warrant application being filed.
'Game of Cat and Mouse'
Shortly after Maxwell's arrest on 2 July 2020, the Daily Mail cited unnamed sources as saying that FBI agents had been "on her tail" since August 2019, something that allegedly cost "at least five million bucks, maybe more, and hundreds of man hours".
"The FBI has been tracking her for a year. They had her, then they lost her. She was in Colorado and Wyoming, then they lost her until she showed up in New Hampshire. It's been a high-stakes game of cat and mouse", the sources claimed.
The 58-year-old was detained on charges of playing a role in the "sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Epstein", who in 2008 pleaded guilty to procuring a person under 18 for prostitution and felony solicitation of prostitution. Epstein was later released under a plea deal, only to be charged with sex trafficking in July 2019.
Maxwell, in turn, claims that she "never observed Jeffrey [Epstein] having sex with a minor", pleading not guilty to all the charges against her. If convicted at a trial scheduled to take place in July 2021, she faces up to 35 years in prison.