US Officials Arrest British Virgin Islands Prime Minister on Drug Charges: NPR

British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie, the nation’s top government official, was arrested Thursday in Miami for a conspiracy to import cocaine, according to a US criminal complaint.

Government of the British Virgin Islands

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Government of the British Virgin Islands

MIAMI — The prime minister of the British Virgin Islands and the director of ports for the Caribbean territory were arrested Thursday on drug smuggling charges in South Florida, federal authorities said.

Prime Minister Andrew Alturo Fahie and Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard were detained by US Drug Enforcement Administration agents at Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to launder money, according to a criminal complaint. Maynard’s son, Kadeem Maynard, faces the same changes to the alleged scheme, records show.

“Anyone involved in bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, regardless of their position,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. “Today is yet another example of the DEA’s determination to hold corrupt members of government accountable for using their positions of power to provide a safe haven for drug traffickers and money launderers for their own financial and political gain.” “.

Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard had been at the airport to meet Mexican drug traffickers, who were actually undercover DEA agents, to see a shipment of $700,000 in cash that BVI officials expected to receive for helping to smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York, the complaint said.

A confidential DEA source had previously met with Maynard and her son after being introduced by a group of self-proclaimed Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, according to the complaint. After Fahie became involved, she said, BVI officials agreed to allow the smugglers to bring the cocaine through the port of Tortola before continuing on to the US.

British Virgin Islands Governor John Rankin issued a statement clarifying that Thursday’s arrests in Florida were not related to a Commission of Inquiry issued last year in the territory. That investigation was meant to focus on governance and corruption, not a criminal investigation into illegal drug trafficking, Rankin said in a statement posted online.

It is not known whether the commission found any suspicions of wrongdoing on the part of Fahie or Maynard, but Rankin said he hopes the results will be released urgently to avoid unnecessary speculation.

The British Virgin Islands, with a population of about 35,000 people, is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean Sea, located east of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. The governor is appointed by the queen, the highest executive authority of the territory, and acts on her behalf. The prime minister is the head of government and is elected in general elections along with the other members of the ruling government.

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