A reported cult leader of the group Nxivm was arrested on Monday, following a federal investigation into the group’s alleged sex trafficking that spans back several years.
CBS reports that Keith Raniere, co-founder of Nxivm, was arrested near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Monday afternoon and extradited to Texas. He’s been charged with sex trafficking and forced labor conspiracy.
The investigation into Raniere was initiated in part after several women came forward and claimed they were forced into submission by the group, abused, and branded with a painful cauterizing device that left Raniere’s initials on them. Rainere, called “Vanguard” within the group, is the leader who allegedly oversaw the barbaric treatment of women, who he reportedly referred to as slaves.
According to court documents, Raniere is accused of keeping his “slaves” on an extremely low-calorie diet while forcing them to notate everything they ate. If anyone slipped on their diets, they were allegedly forced to wear a cow costume with udders while others called them insulting names.
Further, he’s accused of holding an “organized criminal group” in which its members, who allegedly thought they were joining all-woman sorority group, were required to view Raniere as their extreme master. If they got out of line, Renier threatened to expose their personal information to the public, according to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue.
“As alleged in the complaint, Keith Raniere created a secret society of women whom he had sex with and branded with his initials, coercing them with the threat of releasing their highly personal information and taking their assets,” Donoghue wrote. “This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to the prosecution of those who break the law by preying upon and violating members of our community.”
Former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, said to be an active member of Mxivm, was on site when Raniere was arrested in Mexico. Video footage captured the actress speaking with another woman who claimed they were going to follow the police cruiser as it drove “Vanguard” away in cuffs.
Raniere fled the country last year after The New York Times posted a piece on stories from numerous women who gave their versions of what happened while under control of the group.
If convicted, Raniere faces 15 years to life behind bars. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional information becomes available
[Feature Photo: Allison Mack via AP/Starmax]