HomeNewsPremier of British Virgin Islands in Miami Court on Cocaine Trafficking Charges
NEWS

Premier of British Virgin Islands in Miami Court on Cocaine Trafficking Charges

CARIBBEAN / 30 APR 2022 BY CHRIS DALBY EN

The arrest of a sitting head of government on drug trafficking charges is almost unheard of. Nevertheless, Andrew Alturo Fahie, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, was arrested in Miami, Florida on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.

On April 28, Fahie was arrested in Miami, Florida, alongside the head of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) port authority, Oleanvine Maynard, and her son, Kadeem, according to a statement from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Anyone involved with bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, no matter their position,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

The next day, the trio had their first court appearance via Zoom, with a preliminary hearing set for May 13.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Caribbean News

According to a report by The Guardian, the DEA investigation into Fahie began last October when a DEA informant posed as a drug trafficker from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel visiting the island to broker drug deals. The complex affair allegedly involved the informant meeting with “self-proclaimed members of Hezbollah” who were seeking to move cocaine through BVI to Puerto Rico, Miami and New York.

This series of meetings apparently uncovered Fahie’s involvement in the drug trade, culminating with his arrest on a private jet in Miami. Fahie and his associates were carrying $700,000 in cash to pay for the transport of several tons of cocaine, stated charges filed in Florida against the trio.

The charges further state that Fahie and the DEA informant discussed setting up busts of small quantities of drugs to make it seem like the BVI government was fighting the cocaine trade.

“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,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time Fahie has faced allegations of criminal activity. In 2003, Fahie was the subject of a US federal investigation into whether he and his wife had engaged in money laundering while Fahie was the BVI’s Minister of Education and Culture. The investigation was eventually dropped.

Large cocaine seizures have been rising in BVI, many of them since Fahie became Premier in 2019. In August 2021, a US Coast Guard vessel intercepted 1.7 metric tons of cocaine off the coast of Anegada, part of the BVI archipelago.  

SEE ALSO: Barbados at Crossroads with Rising Homicide Rate

In November 2020, a record 2.3 metric tons of cocaine were seized at a property on Tortola, the territory’s largest island.

And beyond the embarrassment of having a head of government in court for cocaine trafficking, this comes at a bad time for BVI.

The day after Fahie was arrested, the British government coincidentally released a major report, after a commission investigated governance in BVI. The report found a culture of governance problems and political dishonesty, amid broader suspicions of corruption and embezzlement. It recommended that the BVI’s constitution should be suspended, its government dissolved and that a governor appointed by London should assume direct rule of the overseas territory.

While these findings are not directly linked to Fahie’s arrest, a number of concerning government expenses on infrastructure projects have been flagged, which happened both before and during his time in office. These include an alleged $7 million being spent on an airline that never saw the light of day, $32 million spent to build a cruise ship pier and as much as $55 million in overspending on improving the BVI’s hospital facilities.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 16 MAY 2016

Government officials in Bolivia have accused the former mistress of President Evo Morales of corruption, extortion and racketeering, as Bolivia…

BRAZIL / 17 JUL 2015

Authorities in Brazil have seized assets and documents from top government officials in connection with the expanding Petrobras corruption investigation,…

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 JUN 2015

A judge has called off money laundering investigations into the wife of Peru’s President Ollanta Humala, clearing yet another obstacle…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…