Sex Slaves, Forced Branding, And 'Smallville' Actresses: The Story Behind Cult-Like NXIVM Leader's Arrest

Keith Raniere, the co-founder of NXIVM, was arrested on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor in Mexico, and was extradited to Texas. Police found him in a luxury villa in Mexico. Smallville actress Allison Mack was reportedly photographed in the background during his arrest, according to Rolling Stone.

Mack has been accused of being part of the sex slave pyramid scheme, which included "masters" that blackmailed new members into joining with incriminating photos and videos. A whistleblower from the group, Frank Parlato, believes that Mack will be arrested in connection with the group. He stated that her code name is "CC-1." This has many implications, as "CC-1" has supposedly forced her slaves to pose nude in photos, and is a "direct slave" of Raniere. Potentially, Mack faces charges for sex trafficking, said 9 News.

The New York Times exposed NXIVM in October, 2017. The organization offered classes for people to find greater self-fulfillment and had been in operation since 1998, serving over 16,000 clients. But behind the facade, a sinister plot was unfolding. A select group of women called the "Vanguard," were initiated by forced branding and also recruited others to join the group. These women were branded with Raniere's initials after declaring, "Master, please brand me, it would be an honor." The women were essentially sex slaves, made to practically starve to remain thin.

Another Smallville actress, Kristin Kreuk, has been accused of being part of the cult-like group. Kreuk has spoken out saying she was not part of the inner circle of sex slaves, according to Elle. Another actress, Sarah Edmonson, told CBC that she was branded in Vancouver. CBS Los Angeles detailed that the women had "surgical masks on because the smell of burnt flesh was so strong."

After the New York Times story was published, the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn began investigating the women's claims. An arrest warrant was issued, but it wasn't until a month after the arrest warrant that Raniere was taken into custody, according to Newsweek. An FBI officer, William F. Sweeney, Jr., declared NXIVM an "unorthodox pyramid scheme."

Audible employee Brock Wilbur said that they had been working on an exposé on the organization, but was glad that his work was canceled due to Raniere's arrest. Others linked prominent NXIVM figures with other notable organizations.