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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsR.S., Tattoo, And Other Mystery Figures In Fahie Cocaine Trial

R.S., Tattoo, And Other Mystery Figures In Fahie Cocaine Trial

Then-Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew A. Fahie (center rear in tie and black suit) meeting with BVI Customs and Immigration officers August 2020. (Photo: BVI GIS)

The list of unnamed, uncharged figures ancillary to former British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie’s arrest grew this week as prosecutors and defense attorneys shared details important to the upcoming drug smuggling and money laundering trial.

Then-Premier Fahie allegedly discussed his preferred method of payment with a federal agent posing as a drug runner, according to prosecutors. If cash were brought to Tortola by sea, Fahie said he had a regular guy.

Someone named Tattoo “moves anything that needs moving, whether it’s cocaine, whether it’s guns. He does everything,” Fahie said in a secretly recorded meeting, according to court records. Fahie said he was “like a father” to Tattoo, according to court filings meant to preclude Fahie from claiming he was entrapped by U.S. agents.

Whether Tattoo was a code name or the actual moniker of someone close to Fahie was unclear. It could have been a reference to the Fantasy Island television show where the Tattoo character heralded the arrival of guests.

In the same meeting, Fahie allegedly said he had helped several people in illicit acts over roughly two decades to the tune of $7.5 million. Fahie, who was elected to the BVI House of Assembly in 1999 and made Premier in 2019, lamented he was not paid for his less public work.

“… [O]ver the last 15 to 20 years, with how much persons that rob me with money on the street that just gone dead, I’m up to about $7.5 million. … The deal went through. … My part never comes through,” Fahie said in the recordings, according to court records.

Who exactly cheated Fahie for his help was not clear, however, both BVI and U.S. authorities investigated Fahie and his wife, Sheila Fahie, in 2003 for allegedly moving large amounts of money from Tortola to Miami without declaring it to U.S. Customs. It was around this same time several people were arrested and later convicted in schemes associated with the construction of Beef Island’s Terrance B. Lettsome Airport.

Before the secretly recorded 2022 meeting ended, Fahie allegedly asked the man he believed to be representing a vicious Mexican narcotics cartel to arrange a private jet for him and his college-age daughter to Philadelphia. He hoped the drug runner would pick them up at her Miami apartment where they were staying. Fahie has two daughters in college in the area. Which one he planned to seat next to the smuggler was not clear.

Both Fahie and co-defendant, BVI Ports Authority Director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard, had been in Miami in late April 2022 to attend the Seatrade cruise conference. Fahie told local BVI media he would be away the entire week after the conference ended April 27. He was right. Both he and Pickering Maynard were separately arrested while stepping off a private jet April 28 after inspecting what they allegedly believed to be $700,000 for their part in the scheme.

Arrested with Pickering Maynard was another person, someone identified in court records only as R.S.

Prosecutors want to exclude a statement R.S. made to Pickering Maynard while they were detained together: that Fahie was planning to have BVI officials seize the $700,000 and have the supposed drug smuggler arrested once they got back to Tortola.

Could R.S. be the person who allegedly directed Najan Christopher, the British overseas territory’s assistant secretary of external affairs, to allegedly send a May 3, 2022 letter stamped as from the Premier’s office demanding Fahie’s release? Christopher, 47, who has no previous criminal record, was arrested in October 2022. She pleaded not guilty to breach of trust and false assumption of authority.

Exactly which BVI officials attended the cruise conference with Fahie and Pickering Maynard is unclear. Reports from the BVI government and local news sources don’t name the entire delegation, only a few expected positions — none with initials R.S. —  as well as members of the Tourist Board, Ports Authority, and representatives of the cruise pier shopping area.

Pickering Maynard, who has pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine but won’t be sentenced until after her testimony against Fahie, had control over the British overseas territory’s ports. But court filings by federal prosecutors say it was her son, Kadeem Maynard, who made a deal with airport and Customs officials.

Prosecutors said Kadeem Maynard — not his mother, the Ports Authority Director — coordinated the arrival of the private plane bearing $700,000 and assured Customs officials would not interfere.

“Kadeem had control of officials at the airport, and confirmed that they would allow the plane to land,” according to court records. Maynard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine in November and is serving a 57-month sentence.

Fahie had allegedly asked for $500,000 from the supposed drug dealer to bribe BVI officials, as well as two percent of the ensuing proceeds from the scheme for further bribe payouts.

Which airport and Customs officials were the intended recipients of the alleged bribes was not clear from court records.

BVI Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith was arrested and charged with breach of public trust on Dec. 13, according to local news reports. Smith had held the top Customs job from 2003 to 2018, then appointed again in 2020. In August 2022, four months after Fahie’s arrest, Smith was put on administrative leave for unspecified reasons. Police reportedly searched his home.

The Source was unable to independently verify the arrest Monday and the exact nature of charges against Smith hadn’t been released.

Prosecutors alleged Fahie had also sought to involve a longtime associate in Senegal. The identity of this person was not revealed in court records but prosecutors said in charging documents that Fahie was deeply involved in criminal activities.

Prosecutors’ assessment of Fahie was unflinching: “Through the course of this conspiracy, it has become clear that Fahie is engaged in corruption and criminal activity at the highest levels. He has accepted bribes, he has agreed to pay bribes, he has conspired to import thousands of kilograms of a dangerous controlled substance, he has admitted to working with known drug dealers in the BVI, and he has expressed a willingness to inquire about the acquisition of firearms from a Senegalese contact – on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Fahie added that his ‘reliable’ criminal associate in the BVI was involved in moving both money and guns (apparently with the knowledge and acquiescence of Fahie). According to Fahie himself, he has been involved in this type of criminal activity for 15-20 years. His release would result in a danger to the community by allowing for continued drug trafficking from the BVI to the United States, and the ongoing protection of criminal activity provided by Fahie. Not only would Fahie himself serve as a danger to the community, but his freedom in society would allow for the unfettered criminal activity of Fahie’s associates to continue.”

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