Ghislaine Maxwell was captured after armed officers knocked down the door to her secret hideaway in a dramatic raid.
The suspect was taken away in handcuffs a few seconds after officers obtained access to the luxury property in Bradford, New Hampshire, the United States, on Thursday morning.
The arrest ended a £ 4m “cat and mouse hunt” for Maxwell, during which she slipped through the net at least once.
But Maxwell, a close friend of Prince Andrew, is now preparing for the chance to live behind bars in one of New York’s most difficult prisons. She has been charged with numerous crimes, including a conspiracy to entice children to travel for illegal sexual acts and a child’s desire to travel to perform illegal sexual acts.
The police used wire cutters to break the lock on a metal gate leading to the suspect’s isolated property. One of the officers said, “We drove to speed up the half-mile drive in a convoy of 15 vehicles. And let’s just say we didn’t knock politely on the door. It was shot down.”
Speaking on Sunday post, the source added: “Maxwell was up and dressed, in the living room, wearing sweatpants and a top. Strangely he didn’t seem to have much reaction. It was as if he wasn’t registering with his.
“She was quickly turned and handcuffed. She was in custody in seconds.”
Neighbors saw planes hover over the property for hours, now confirmed as a stratospheric police force used to ensure that the suspect did not flee before the bust.
Dick Morris, 59, a carpenter who lives across the street, said: “I heard what I initially thought was a para plane, basically an engine with a seat and a parachute, which is common around here. You hear one for ten minutes and it’s gone. But this went on and on.
“I went out to load my truck at 7 in the morning and the plane was still going. I thought,” What the heck is this guy buzzing around doing? “I peeked through the trees and saw a small Cessna-like plane above and buzzing in a large circle.
“Then I noticed another plane, so there were two, like opposite sides of a circle, this high altitude circle of planes buzzing around and around.
“Later I realized that the FBI was supposed to make sure he didn’t leave before the raid team got there.”
It is now understood that police have “been on Maxwell’s tail” for nearly a year, since Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a prison cell before his trial on charges of child prostitution and trafficking.
“This took millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours. At least five million dollars, maybe more,” said another source at the publication.
“The FBI has been following her for a year. They had it, then they lost it. It was in Colorado and Wyoming, then they lost it until it showed up in New Hampshire. It was a game to high risk of cat and mouse.
“They had to build a case and put it in front of a big jury. These things take time. It slipped through the net once, but as soon as the big jury returned with an indictment ten days ago, it was on.”
Maxwell is presumed to have committed sexual offenses against children of three victims, one of only 14 years old, between 1994 and 1997.
He denies the accusations and his defense team is understood as “preparing for war”.
“‘They had a year to anticipate it. He has the money to set up the best legal team.
“We anticipated that this day would come. He is fighting his life and is not going down slowly. He insists that he is innocent and has always done so,” added the source.