FBI tracked down Ghislaine Maxwell using cellphone data

Ghislaine Maxwell, the Jeffrey Epstein associate facing child trafficking charges, was tracked down to her remote hideaway by the FBI using data from her mobile phone, according to court documents.

Maxwell was arrested at the 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire, on 2 July last year, a day after a request was made for a search warrant to “employ an electronic investigative technique … to determine the location of the cellular device”.

The newly unsealed documents, first reported by the Daily Beast, show that the FBI tracked GPS and data use to narrow Maxwell’s whereabouts to an area measuring around 1 sq mile. The former socialite had opened up a mobile phone account under the name “G Max” and used it to communicate with her sister, one of her lawyers and Scott Borgerson, a technology executive.

To more precisely determine the building Maxwell was in the FBI used a device that it said “may function in some respects like a cellular tower”, suggesting “stingray” technology was deployed. The equipment, which can fit inside a briefcase, mimics a cell tower and forces nearby mobile phones to connect to it, allowing the exact location of a certain phone to be captured.

Maxwell had been hiding out in the $1m home, which she purchased with cash in 2019, following the arrest and subsequent prison cell death of Epstein, with whom she had a relationship in the 1990s. Maxwell, daughter of the disgraced British newspaper owner Robert Maxwell, has been charged with recruiting and grooming three girls, the youngest aged 14, to be sexually abused by Epstein. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Maxwell is currently being held in detention in New York City ahead of her trial, which is set to begin in July. She has twice been denied bail.


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