Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday on criminal charges linked to his alleged sex-trafficking operation, according to a law enforcement official.
Ms. Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire, officials said.
The arrest came nearly a year after Mr. Epstein was charged in a federal indictment with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls at his mansion in Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. and other locations between at least 2002 and 2005.
The indictment said he paid the girls — at least one as young as 14 — to give him massages while they were nude or topless, in encounters that typically included sex acts.
Mr. Epstein hanged himself in August in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, where he was jailed pending trial on the federal sex-trafficking charges.
Ms. Maxwell, a longtime confidante and companion of Mr. Epstein’s, had for years been accused of helping to procure and groom young girls for the financier, including instructing them on how to pleasure Mr. Epstein sexually.
The daughter of the British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, Ms. Maxwell also helped manage Mr. Epstein’s properties and introduced him to the high-profile celebrities and business executives who would form his social circle.
Civil lawsuits have accused Ms. Maxwell of managing a network of recruiters that Mr. Epstein relied on to entice young and often financially strapped girls and women into his scheme, promising he would help them with their education and careers.
“They were like partners in a business,” Mr. Epstein’s house manager, Janusz Banasiak, said in a deposition.
“She orchestrated the whole thing for Jeffrey,” one of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, Sarah Ransome, who sued him in 2017, told The New York Times in an interview.