On Thursday, British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie allegedly stepped onto a private plane at a Miami airport, where a man who claimed to work for a Mexican drug cartel showed him luxury shopping bags containing $700,000 in cash.
Some $500,000 was for the politician, part of his fee for agreeing to allow a port on the island of Tortola to be a waypoint to smuggle Colombian cocaine to the US, authorities have alleged.
In a court document, Fahie is accused of asking for an upfront payment of $500,000 to allow the use of the Tortola port for the scheme.
And Oleanvine Maynard, the managing director of the BVI Ports Authority whom Lebanese Hezbollah operatives allegedly claimed to “own”, is accused of setting up business licences to facilitate the operation, deciding with her son that they would need to set up a shipping agency.
The document emerged after both officials and Maynard’s son Kadeem were arrested in Miami on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to import at least 5 kg of cocaine, as TradeWinds reported on Friday.
In documents filed in the US federal court in Miami, the charges were accompanied by an affidavit in which US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Shad Aschleman detailed a picture of high-level government officials that, for a price, were allegedly willing to use their authority to smooth the path of cocaine smuggling.
Fahie’s office did not respond to a phone call seeking comment for this story, and an effort to reach a spokesperson at the BVI Ports Authority was unsuccessful.
The DEA affidavit details interactions between the BVI trio and a confidential DEA source who posed as a fixer for Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel during a sting operation.
The source came in contact with Fahie and the Maynards after he sought the assistance of self-avowed members of militant group Hezbollah, whose political arm is represented in Lebanon's parliament, to use Tortola’s port to temporarily store cocaine brought from Colombia by boat on its way to the US, according to the affidavit.
The Hezbollah operatives offered to facilitate meetings with senior BVI officials, with one offering to reach out to the head of security for Fahie and another claiming that the group “owned” Oleanvine Maynard.
In a March meeting in St Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, the source told the Maynards that containers of cocaine would only need to stay in port for 24 to 48 hours.
“You want it to be done legally so nobody will come around?” Oleanvine Maynard allegedly asked him. “That is where I can assist.”
Aschleman wrote that in the recorded interview, the ports official said she could help with paperwork and licences. The Maynards determined to set up a shipping agency for the task, Kadeem allegedly told the DEA source.
At the end of the meeting, the source provided Oleanvine Maynard with a bag containing $10,000 as a “gesture of good faith”, Aschleman wrote.
Then days later, Maynard told the source over the phone that she had dropped off the business licence applications and that Fahie, who is referred to at times by the code name Head Coach, would handle the parts of the plan that involved the port.
Then in April, in a meeting with the Maynards and Fahie in a home on Tortola, the source told the premier that his Mexican employers wanted to arrange free passage for shipments of 3,000 kg of cocaine at a time, packaged in buckets of waterproofing paint.
The source offered the trio 12% of each shipment’s $78m price upon reaching Miami.
“Fahie agreed to allow the CS [confidential source] to use the ports to ship his cocaine, and said that Maynard had the licences for the companies the CS would need,” Aschleman wrote in the affidavit.
Fahie allegedly asked for a $500,000 upfront payment, the DEA agent wrote. After saying further payment would be made at a later meeting in Miami, the source handed the premier $20,000 in cash, according to the court document.
Ultimately, Oleanvine Maynard and Fahie agreed to meet the source in Miami, where he would leave $700,000 in cash on a private jet at Opa-locka Executive Airport that would be retrieved by Maynard.
Fahie was arrested after being shown the cash on the plane on Thursday.
The source and an undercover DEA agent then showed Maynard the bags of money, handing her a $200,000 cut. When she stepped off the plane, she too was arrested.