The premier of the British Virgin Islands was arrested in Miami on Thursday and accused of agreeing to help a federal informant posing as a member of the Sinaloa cartel move thousands of kilos of cocaine through his country’s port, according to federal court documents.
The country’s top port official was also taken into custody on money laundering and drug conspiracy charges, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Miami.
Premier Andrew Fahie, 51, was arrested at Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport after he boarded what had been portrayed as a private jet and inspected shopping bags filled with $700,000 in cash, the complaint says.
“Why am I getting arrested,” he is alleged to have said, according to the documents. “I don’t have any money or drugs.”
Oleanvine Maynard, the managing director of the country’s port authority, was arrested later Thursday after, authorities alleged, she accepted a $200,000 payment as part of the deal.
Maynard’s son, Kadeem Maynard, who is accused of having helped broker the arrangement, was also arrested on drug conspiracy and money laundering charges, said Anne Milgram, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“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,” she said in a statement.
In a statement, British Virgin Islands Gov. John Rankin said the criminal investigation wasn’t linked to a separate, U.K.-led inquiry examining corruption on the island.