The FBI search Monday of Jeffrey Epstein’s private island - Little St. James Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands - underscores reports that the investigation into the underage sex ring will continue despite Epstein’s suicide.

FBI agents swarmed Little St. James Island on Monday, the private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands owned by Jeffrey Epstein, two days after the wealthy sex offender hanged himself in a jail cell, according to published reports.

A local fishing and snorkeling guide said she spotted the FBI agents while taking a group of tourists on a charter at 10:24 a.m. on Monday, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News. She said she saw about 15 to 20 agents in golf carts, walking the perimeter and entering building on the 72-acre island dubbed “Orgy Island” by locals, according to the report.

Epstein purchased the island in 1998 for $7.95 million and was allowed to visit at least six times while on house arrest in Palm Beach.

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Epstein had been held without bail since his arrest on July 5 on federal charges of hiring underage girls to give him erotic massages filed by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

The arrest came 11 years after Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution-related charges in Palm Beach County in July 2008. Epstein was sentenced to one year in jail, followed by a year of house arrest in his Palm Beach home, in that case.

A Palm Beach Post review of jail records during Epstein’s period of incarceration, which lasted just over a year, shows that Epstein was not treated like other inmates. He was housed in a less secure facility, allowed to pay deputies to watch him so he could live in another unit in the stockade and even enjoy work-release privileges not available to other sex offenders.

The favors continued during Epstein’s house arrest. Epstein was allowed to fly on his private jet to New York to visit his attorneys at least 14 times and another five trips to his U.S. Virgin Island property for business.

Records show Epstein claimed to have spent hours shopping at Home Depot and the Sports Authority stores and was allowed to go house hunting after his home was broken into. Although required to provide the names, ages and his relationships to people who resided at his home, on three of his monthly reports Epstein simply scribbled initials and ages and described them as staff or friends.

Public outrage followed news reports of Epstein's pampered treatment in the Palm Beach County Stockade. Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office handling of the case and the plea bargain offered by then Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer.

The search of Epstein’s Virgin Island property on Monday underscores reports that the investigation into the underage sex ring continues despite Epstein’s death. Four women and others not identified in public records could be prosecuted for their roles in procuring girls for Epstein.

The island is one of several properties owned by Epstein that prosecutors said they intend to seize as part of their case. Epstein has homes in Palm Beach, Manhattan, New Mexico, Paris and the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the circumstances of Epstein’s death in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

One of the new details provided to the Associated Press by people familiar with the Metropolitan Correctional Center was that one of Epstein's guards the night he died in his cell was not a regular correctional officer.

Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told The Washington Post that one of the guards was a fill-in who had been pressed into service because of staffing shortfalls.

In addition, Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 minutes. But investigators have learned those checks were not conducted for several hours before Epstein was found, according to one of the people familiar with the episode. That person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Cstapleton@pbpost.com

@StapletonPBP