The Premier of the British Virgin Islands and the director of the territory’s ports were both arrested on Thursday in Miami in connection to drug trafficking and money laundering, CNN reports.
According to a criminal affidavit filed in the US District Court’s Southern District of Florida, Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie and BVI Ports Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard were arrested at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. Kadeem Stephan, Maynard Maynard’s son, was also arrested in the raid.
Fahie and the Maynards are currently being held on charges of “conspiracy to import 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.”
After Fahie boarded what is believed to have been a private jet, shopping bags filled with $700,000 in cash was discovered.
“Why am I getting arrested,” he is alleged to have said, according to the documents. “I don’t have any money or drugs.”
Maynard, the authorities alleged, accepted a $200,000 payment as part of the deal.
The documents state that the informant met with Fahie, Maynard, and her son on April 7 on the island of Tortola and made a deal for "free passage" of 3,000 kilos of cocaine to be transported from Colombia to the U.S.
Thursday’s meeting in Florida was described as a "test run" of the operation, the documents read.
The documents also state that Fahie allegedly agreed to be paid 12 percent of the drug sales and the informant “promised to send him low-purity cocaine that local authorities could seize to make it appear that Fahie was cracking down on drug trafficking,” the authorities noted.
"Fahie loved the idea, and explained that in the past he never got paid at the end of his involvement in schemes like this," the document says.
Liz Truss, Britain’s Foreign Secretary expressed her dismay over the allegations levied against Fahie.
“This afternoon, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Andrew Fahie, was arrested in the United States on charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering,” her statement said. “I am appalled by these serious allegations.”
Additionally, Truss mentioned an anti-corruption inquiry that was unrelated to the DEA investigation.
“This arrest demonstrates the importance of the recently concluded Commission of Inquiry,” the statement continued. “ 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 the next steps tomorrow, including urgent publication of the Inquiry’s report.”
In a statement, the US Drug Enforcement Administration said the arrest should send a “clear message” to anyone seeking to smuggle narcotics into the country.
“Anyone involved with bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, no matter their position,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “Today is yet another example of DEA’s resolve to hold corrupt members of government responsible for using their positions of power to provide a safe haven for drug traffickers and money launderers in exchange for their own financial and political gain.”