The prime minister of the British Virgin Islands was arrested in Miami on Thursday on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to import cocaine, according to a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) complaint reviewed by Reuters.
Andrew Fahie, 51, was arrested at a Miami airport with the chief executive of the British Overseas Territory Ports Authority, according to the complaint, which cites extensive testimony from a confidential informant.
The DEA complaint said Fahie agreed to allow the informant, who posed as a member of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, to use ports in the British Virgin Islands to ship cocaine in exchange for a payment of US$500,000.
Fahie’s arrest was first revealed in a statement by British Virgin Islands Governor John Rankin.
“I realize this will be shocking news for the people of the Territory,” Rankin said. “And I would call for calm at this time.”
Fahie could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could British Virgin Islands Ports Authority officials.
Thousands of pounds of cocaine
The DEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but its complaint shows that the investigation, based on observations and recordings by the confidential informant, began in October.
According to the complaint, the informant claimed in meetings with Fahie, Ports General Manager Oleanvine Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard, to be a member of the cartel seeking to move thousands of pounds of Colombian cocaine through the island of Tortola. – the largest of the territory’s islands – and finally to Puerto Rico for export to New York and Miami.
“Fahie agreed to allow the confidential source to use the ports to ship his cocaine,” according to the complaint, adding that he requested an initial payment of $500,000 in return.
The Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands also asked for help repaying an $83,000 debt to a man in Senegal who had “solved” some political issues for him, according to the complaint.
Fahie was arrested in Miami after being separately shown designer shopping bags on a private plane that ostensibly showed US$700,000 for him and Oleanvine Maynard, according to the complaint.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement that she was “appalled” by the allegations.
Fahie’s arrest, she said, demonstrated the importance of a recently concluded commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption and abuse of power on the islands. The commission’s report has not yet been released.
Deputy Prime Minister Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley will remain acting prime minister indefinitely.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for additional information.