Friday, April 19, 2024

Ex-British Virgin Islands premier found guilty on drug related charges


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MIAMI -Former British Virgin Islands (BVI) premier, Andrew Fahie, faces the possibility of life imprisonment after he was found guilty late Thursday evening on drug and racketeering related charges.

The sentencing is scheduled for April 29, 2024.

Fahie was convicted after a trial that lasted eight days, with the 12 member jury returning guilty verdicts of conspiracy to import a controlled substance, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, attempted money laundering, and interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering.

The jury deliberated for just over four hours returning unanimous decisions in the case that was brought by United States (US) prosecutors, who during their opening arguments, described the matter as a straightforward case.

The prosecution relied on the information provided by a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant, who had initially made contact with Fahie’s co-conspirators, Oleanvine and Kadeem Maynard – the British Virgin Islands’ former head of ports and her son.

The conspiracy’s objective was to bribe BVI authorities to ignore the movement of cocaine-laden ships using the Tortola coastline as a transient haven en route to US ports.

The prosecution alleged that for his involvement, Fahie was to receive a share from each cocaine sale, part for personal gain and part to ensure the complicity of key public officials.

The court heard that while in Miami, Fahie and Maynard, inspected what they believed to be their initial shipment of cash, US$700 000, to be divided between them, aboard a private jet at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport.

Fahie, who pleaded not guilty, was arrested in April 2022 by officers posing as cartel members and the Maynards, who had previously entered guilty pleas to their charges were granted lighter sentences.

Kadeem Maynard received a prison sentence of nearly five years, while his mother’s sentencing has been deferred until after her testimony against Fahie.

During the trial, her testimony, aligned closely with the prosecution’s case, detailed her role in introducing the scheme to Fahie and confirmed his willingness to participate. She recounted Fahie’s direct negotiations with the DEA informant, including his agreement to a 12 per cent profit share from the cocaine shipments and his acceptance of a US$20 000 “good faith” cash gift, while she admitted receiving US$10,000 from the same source.

She will be sentenced on February 22.

During the trial, Fahie maintained his innocence and  court observers say that the resulting full jury trial means he is ineligible for any leniency typically afforded by a plea deal.

The charges carry severe penalties, with the money laundering counts each warranting up to 20 years in prison and the racketeering charge up to five years. The conspiracy to traffic cocaine, could lead to a life sentence and a fine of up to US$10 million.

Fahie, who had been on bail and residing at his daughter’s Miami apartment, was taken into custody late Thursday evening. (CMC)


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