The Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands was arrested in Miami on Thursday on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering, authorities said.
According to an indictment filed in the US Southern District of Florida, Andrew Fahie, who is the elected head of government for the small area of approximately 30,000 residents, demanded a $500,000 upfront payment to allow cocaine to slip through the area en route to Miami and New York. He was charged with conspiracy to import at least five kilograms of cocaine mixture and conspiracy to launder money.
According to the complaint, the area’s port director, Oleanvine Pickering Maynard, and her son Kadeem Stephan Maynard are also facing these charges.
A man posing as an employee of the Sinaloa cartel, but a confidential source to federal authorities, met with Ms. Maynard on March 20, according to the complaint.
The man told Ms Maynard that according to the document, he needed help transporting thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Colombia via Tortola, which is in the British Virgin Islands. Ms Maynard agreed to help and said Mr Fahie would also be open to such an arrangement, according to the complaint.
On April 7, the confidential source met with Mr Fahie, who asked for the prepayment to start the process and said that, according to the complaint, Ms Maynard could provide the permits needed to allow the cocaine to pass through the ports. slip. The source then gave Mr Fahie $20,000, saying, “This is a good-faith gift to seal that we have an agreement,” the document said.
The source also suggested that authorities could organize seizures of bad drugs and money by Mr Fahie in the area to allay suspicion and make it look like he was fighting the drug trade, the document said.
“Fahie laughed and said the CS had thought of everything,” the document said, citing the confidential source.
Mr Fahie, Ms Maynard and Mr Maynard were not immediately contactable and it was unclear who their attorneys were.
In a statement on Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she has spoken with the British Virgin Islands governor and that he will hold an emergency meeting on the matter.
“I am shocked by these serious allegations,” she said. “This arrest demonstrates the importance of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry.”
Ms Truss referred to an independent investigation by the area’s governor, John Rankin, that began in January 2021 with the aim of reviewing the area’s governance and making recommendations for improvement.
The aim of the ongoing investigation “is to determine whether there is evidence of corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty that has taken place in public office in recent years, and if so, under what circumstances this has occurred,” the UK government said. .
The investigation, officials said, “was launched in part in response to wide-ranging public concerns.”
Katie Benner reporting contributed.