Andrew Fahie was arrested in Miami in news the British Overseas Territory’s governor described as “shocking.”
The prime minister of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the managing director of the Caribbean territory’s ports were arrested in Miami on drug smuggling charges.
Andrew Fahie and Oleanvine Maynard, who heads the islands’ port authority, were arrested at the Miami airport, according to Drug Enforcement Agency documents released Thursday.
The DEA said Fahie, 51, had agreed to allow an informant, posing as a member of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel and whose identity remains confidential, to use British Virgin Islands ports to ship cocaine in exchange. of a payment of $500,000. . He also asked for additional money to pay a debt to a “fixer”.
The arrests of the officers “should send a clear message,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.
“Anyone involved in bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, regardless of their position.”
Court documents filed Thursday showed the two officials and Maynard’s son, Kadeem Maynard, were charged with “conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine” and “conspiracy to launder money.”
Fahie’s arrest was first revealed by BVI Governor John Rankin, who is appointed by the British Queen and acts on her behalf.
“I realize this will be shocking news to the people of the Territory,” Rankin said in a statement. “And I would call for calm right now.”
Fahie and Maynard had been at the airport to meet with Mexican drug traffickers, who were actually undercover DEA agents, to oversee a shipment of cash they expected to receive for helping smuggle cocaine from Colombia into the US through the port. from Tortola.
The DEA began its investigation last October.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement that she was “appalled” by the allegations.
Rankin said the arrests in Florida were not related to a Commission of Inquiry into governance and corruption that was announced in the British Virgin Islands last year.
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, which lie east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, have a population of about 35,000 people. They are best known for their offshore financial services industry.