New Mexico officials are trying to seize parts of a ranch owned by Jeffery Epstein after the state commissioner was not allowed to visit the property.
Zorro Ranch, a nearly 10,0000-acre property about 40 miles south of Santa Fe, was one of several estates owned by Epstein, who killed himself in his New York jail cell earlier in August. The property consists of private and state-owned land that was leased under a 1993 purchase agreement.
Stephanie Garcia Richard, the state’s commissioner of public lands, told the Wall Street Journal she and her colleagues tried to gain access to the ranch on Tuesday but were denied.
“It is heart-wrenching to know that state trust land was part of a broader scheme to cause harm to individuals,” Garcia said. “So we want to do everything we can to make sure that our office is ready and available and helpful in bringing these folks to justice.”
Garcia said the denial could be grounds to terminate the lease.
“I’m going to be visiting with legal to see if that gives me cause to cancel the lease,” she said. “These field inspections, field reports are fairly routine.”
She said her office notified Zorro Ranch that it would be visiting, though it’s common for the commissioner to visit state-owned land without informing a property owner beforehand. Federal law enforcement officials have raided other properties owned by Epstein, including his Manhattan townhouse and an estate in the Virgin Islands.
Epstein was an American financier and convicted sex offender who was arrested July 8 on charges of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. His estate is reportedly worth more than $500 million.