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News Link • Investigations

Jeffrey Epstein's New Mexico ranch linked to investigation

• https://abcnews.go.com Bymary Hudetz

Known as the Zorro Ranch, the high-desert property is now tied to an investigation that the state attorney general's office says it has opened into Epstein with plans to forward findings to federal authorities in New York.

Epstein, who pleaded not guilty this week to federal sex trafficking charges in New York, has not faced criminal charges in New Mexico. But the scandal surrounding him has still sent a jolt through the rural southwestern state as it comes under scrutiny for laws that allowed him to avoid registering as a sex offender following a guilty plea a decade ago in Florida.

"New Mexico continues to lag behind the rest of the country in strengthening outdated and weak laws that fail to protect our children from abuse," New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press. "This is a huge black eye for our state."

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