FBI agents smashed Ghislaine Maxwell’s door and hauled her away in handcuffs

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Armed FBI officers stormed the house of Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner Ghislaine Maxwell and arrested the 58-year-old heiress on sex abuse and exploitation of minor charges.

But according to one officer at the scene, the sight of 24 FBI agents bursting through her door barely registered with the socialite who allegedly just stood there in a tracksuit before being handcuffed and taken into custody.

Maxwell was led from her 156-acre home in Bradford, New Hampshire, by officers from at least six law-enforcement agencies at about 8.30am on Thursday and taken to a medium-security jail where she was arraigned.

She is accused of luring underage girls, one as young as 14, for her ex-boyfriend, disgraced paedophile and tycoon Jeffrey Epstein, to sexually abuse.

An officer told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We drove at speed up the half-mile driveway in a convoy of 15 vehicles. And let’s just say, we didn’t knock politely on the door. It was smashed down.

‘Maxwell was up and dressed, in the living room, wearing sweat pants and a top. Strangely she didn’t seem to have much reaction. It was like it wasn’t registering with her.

‘She was turned around quickly and cuffed. She was in custody in a matter of seconds.’

The heiress was arrested by FBI agents who used used bolt-cutters to break the lock on a metal gate leading to her home called ‘Tuckedaway’.

Ghislaine, the daughter of newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, was an Epstein confidante and is accused of being involved in his alleged trafficking crimes. He was due to face charges before his death.

Epstein killed himself in his New York prison cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He had a previous conviction of prostitution charges involving a minor in Florida in 2008 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Several of the women abused by the financier claimed Maxwell was responsible for ‘recruiting’ girls for him.

Maxwell continuously denies all allegations that date back to a three-year period between 1994 and 1997.

On the morning of her arrest, a neighbour said they heard planes flying overhead from about 4.20am, at first assuming it was a private light aircraft until the noise persisted for hours.

At that point they began to suspect it was law enforcement keeping surveillance on Maxwell.

Dick Morris, a 59-year-old carpenter who lives next to Maxwell’s home, said the FBI spy plane was in the sky for hours which he would later realise was to ensure Maxwell remained in the house until the raid team arrived.

The FBI had been tracking Maxwell since Epstien’s death, spending millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours on the investigation, the Mail reported.

The case was then presented before a grand jury 10 days before the raid, with local police informed the night before. FBI agents began arriving in Bradford from Monday.

A lawyer close to the case told the Mail that Maxwell feels she is protected by the 2008 plea deal Epstein agreed to when he admitted two charges of child prostitution in exchange for a lenient sentence and immunity for others.