British Virgin Islands premier and the BVI port authority director arrested in Miami on drugs and money laundering charges
The premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Andrew Fahie and the director of the small Caribbean territory’s ports Oleanvine Maynard were arrested Thursday at a Miami-area airport by federal agents on charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and money laundering, according to U.S. authorities.
The foreign officials were arrested after they met with undercover DEA agents posing as cocaine traffickers to check out an alleged shipment of $700,000 in cash on an airplane that they believed was destined for the British Virgin Islands.
The DEA agents were posing as members of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.
Both government officials, who were in Miami for a cruise convention, went to the airport Thursday morning to see the alleged load of cash after DEA agents told them that the money was a payoff for allowing the cartel’s future cocaine loads to be transported through the British territory to the United States.
Both Fahie and Maynard, who are being held at the Federal Detention Center, are scheduled to have their first appearances in Miami federal court on Friday afternoon.
A third person, Kadeem Maynard, the son of BVI’s port director, was also arrested Thursday in connection with the undercover DEA case, but not in Miami.
All three defendants were charged with conspiring to import more than five kilos of cocaine into the United States and conspiring to commit money laundering.
A DEA criminal complaint and affidavit were expected to be filed in Miami federal court on Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
It was not immediately clear if any of the three defendants had retained attorneys. In response to the arrests of the premier and the others, BVI Governor John Rankin issued a statement saying the U.S. government informed United Kingdom officials of the drug-trafficking case in Miami.
“As this is a live investigation I have no further information on the arrest nor can I comment any further on it,” said Rankin, who was appointed BVI’s governor by the United Kingdom.
Rankin also noted that the narco-trafficking arrests were unrelated to a current UK corruption investigation of Fahie’s government. Corruption in the small islands of the Caribbean, which became a major drug transshipment point for U.S.-bound cocaine shipments in the 1980s, has always been a concern for the U.S. government.
The British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss said:
This afternoon, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Andrew Fahie, was arrested in the United States on charges related to drugs trafficking and money laundering.
I am appalled by these serious allegations. This arrest demonstrates the importance of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry.
I have spoken to the Governor of the BVI and he will be holding an emergency meeting of the Territory’s Cabinet later today. He will set out next steps tomorrow, including urgent publication of the Inquiry’s report.
Hmmm… I don’t know what to say or what to think… if this is true, I will have to take back many of my words against the COI and apologize. This story is above imagination!
More details here, ASAP.