According to the Miami Herald, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands and the port director were arrested in Miami on drug trafficking and money laundering charges on April 28.
According to a DEA affidavit filed by U.S. Attorney Frederic Shadley, Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie and Port Director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard were detained by Drug Enforcement Administration agents at Miami-Opa-locka airport after they arrived to verify a $700,000 cash payment.
At the time of the arrest, Fahie confirmed his identity and said, “Why am I getting arrested? I don’t have any money or drugs.”
Both officials are being held at the Federal Detention Center, and their first appearances in federal court in Miami are scheduled for Friday afternoon.
It should be noted that the port director’s son, Kadeem Maynard, is also being held but was not arrested in Miami.
According to the affidavit, the charges against the three detainees are conspiracy to import more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.
The arrests were made as part of an undercover investigation that began last fall when meetings were held on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands between an undercover government agent posing as a Mexican drug trafficker and a group of Lebanese, alleged members of Hezbollah, who were connected to high-ranking local officials.
Through the Lebanese group’s efforts, a meeting was arranged between the U.S. informant and the three defendants, where the alleged Mexican drug trafficker, who claimed to work for the Sinaloa cartel, asked them for protection for cocaine shipments coming from Colombia, which would arrive in Miami through the British Virgin Islands.
In return, Fahie and the Maynards were to receive an initial $700,000, which would turn into millions over the course of the operations, according to documents filed in Miami federal court.
According to the AP, British Virgin Islands Governor John Rankin quickly issued a statement saying that the arrests in the U.S. on Thursday are not related to an ongoing corruption investigation of the Fahie government in the U.K. and that to avoid unnecessary speculation, he expects the results to be released urgently.
For her part, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement:
“Anyone involved with bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, no matter their position.”
Milgram also stressed:
“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.”