MIAMI — The prime minister of the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean territory’s director of ports were arrested on Thursday for drug trafficking in South Florida, federal authorities said.
Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie and Chief Executive Officer Oleanvine Maynard were arrested by US Drug Enforcement Administration officers at Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy for the purpose of laundering money, according to a criminal complaint. Maynard’s son, Kadeem Maynard, faces the same changes in the alleged scheme, records show.
“Anyone involved in bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, regardless of position,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. “Today is another example of the DEA’s determination to hold corrupt members of government accountable for using their positions of power to provide safe haven for drug traffickers and money launderers in exchange for their own gain. financial and political.
Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard were at the airport meeting with Mexican drug traffickers, who were actually undercover DEA agents, to view a shipment of $700,000 in cash that BVI officials expected to receive for having helped smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York, the complaint says.
A confidential DEA source had previously met with Maynard and his son after they were introduced by a group of self-proclaimed Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, according to the complaint. After Fahie’s involvement, he said, BVI officials agreed to let the smugglers smuggle the cocaine through the port of Tortola before continuing on to the United States.
British Virgin Islands Governor John Rankin released a statement saying Thursday’s arrests in Florida were unrelated to a commission of inquiry issued into the territory last year. That investigation was supposed to focus on governance and corruption, not a criminal investigation into drug trafficking, Rankin said in a statement posted online.
It’s unclear whether the commission found any alleged wrongdoing by Fahie or Maynard, but Rankin said he expects the results to be released urgently to avoid unnecessary speculation.
The British Virgin Islands, with a population of approximately 35,000 people, is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean Sea, located east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The Governor is appointed by the Queen, the territory’s ultimate executive authority, 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 government in power.