The British Virgin Islands’ prime minister and Caribbean port manager were arrested Thursday on drug smuggling charges in South Florida, federal authorities said.
Prime Minister Andrew Altoro Fahe and Director General Olinvin Maynard have been detained by US Drug Enforcement Administration agents at Miami Opa-Luca Executive Airport and charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to launder money, according to a criminal complaint. According to records, Maynard’s son, Cadim Maynard, is experiencing the same changes in the alleged scheme.
“Anyone involved in bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, regardless of their location,” DEA Director Ann Milgram said in a statement. “Today is yet another example of the DEA’s determination to hold corrupt members of the government accountable for using their positions of power to provide a safe haven for drug traffickers and money launderers for their financial and political gain.”
Fahey and Olianvin Maynard were at the airport to meet with Mexican drug traffickers, who were actually undercover agents of the DEA, to see a shipment of $700,000 in cash that BVI officials expected to receive to help smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, a confidential DEA source had previously met Maynard and her son after they were identified by a group of Lebanese Hezbollah operatives. She added that after Fahey’s involvement, BVI officials agreed to allow smugglers to bring cocaine through the port of Tortola before continuing on to the United States.
BVI Governor John Rankin issued a statement making clear Thursday’s arrests in Florida are not linked to a commission of inquiry issued last year in the territory. Rankin said in a statement posted online that this investigation was intended to focus on governance and corruption, not a criminal investigation into the illegal drug trade.
It is not known if the commission found any suspected error by Fahey or Maynard, but Rankin said he expects the results to be published quickly to avoid unnecessary speculation.
The British Virgin Islands, with a population of about 35,000, 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, who is the territory’s final executive, and acts on her behalf. The Prime Minister is the head of government and is elected in a general election along with other members of the ruling government.