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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsFeds Reveal Phone Evidence Against BVI’s Fahie

Feds Reveal Phone Evidence Against BVI’s Fahie

Prosecutors filed a list of evidence they plan to use against former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie that included messages and phone records. (Photo courtesy BVI GIS)

W. Smith, R. Sylvester, M. Vanterpool — these are some of the people former British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie corresponded with shortly before his arrest on narcotics smuggling and money laundering charges, according to court records filed Wednesday.

Inclusion on Fahie’s and alleged co-conspirator Oleanvine Pickering Maynard’s call list isn’t an indication of any wrongdoing, but prosecutors thought the phone calls and messages were important enough to include as evidence.

All but two of the names on the evidence list were a first letter and a surname, like C. Maritza, B. Sylvester, D. Osborne, C. Kettle, and R. Garaway. One exception was Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Commissioner Mark Collins.

Outgoing BVI Gov. John Rankin launched a probe into Collins last week over a laundry list of complaints, including that he ordered officers to destroy evidence, according to local reports. Collins had been on the job since Jan. 18, 2021.

The London-appointed Rankin had released the long-awaited Commission of Inquiry report shortly after Fahie’s April 28, 2022 arrest in Miami. The report detailed the potential for widespread corruption in the BVI government and recommended the local constitution be suspended, ministers sacked, and that London take direct control.

The content of Fahie and Pickering Maynard’s phone calls, text messages, and WhatsApp messages likely won’t be known until the Monday trial. Pickering Maynard, the former BVI Ports Authority managing director, is scheduled to testify against Fahie. She and her son, Kadeem Maynard, have pleaded guilty to cocaine smuggling charges.

Maynard was sentenced to 51 months in prison. His mother will learn her fate in February.

Fahie and the Maynards allegedly planned to work with people they believed to be international drug runners. The premier and Ports Authority managing director would bribe local officials to allow large amounts of money to pass through the Terrance B. Lettsome Airport without inspection and arrange for drug-laden cargo ships to anchor off Tortola for a few days to gain legitimacy. They also planned to set up shell corporations to further conceal the scheme, according to prosecutors.

Pickering Maynard said that part was easy, according to transcripts of audio tapes secretly recorded by U.S. Drug Enforcement and Customs and Border agents.

A woman identified only as “R.S.” was arrested along with Pickering Maynard as she stepped away from a private aircraft she believed to contain a $700,000 downpayment for her part in the drug deal, according to prosecutors. R.S., whose identity has not been definitively revealed, was not charged. In the days leading up to the arrests, Pickering Maynard called and sent messages to two numbers belonging to “R. Sylvester,” one to a BVI number and one to a U.S. number.

The BVI government closed its Miami office shortly after the arrests. It had been run by Pickering Maynard and two others since 2019.

Kadeem Maynard sent messages to someone identified as Roberto Quintero, among others. Prosecutors said at one point, Maynard thought he was entering an agreement with the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

Prosecutors plan to show jurors photos of Fahie, Pickering Maynard, Kadeem Maynard, R. Sylvester, people identified as A. Tarabay, M. El Khatib, and W. Smith, and areal views of Tortola, Maria’s By The Sea, and the Greenhouse Restaurant. They also plan to show jurors photos of the supposed drug money.

BVI news reports said Customs Chief Wade Smith had been arrested in mid-December but BVI police would not confirm the arrest to the Source Wednesday, saying only that a senior government official had been arrested “in relation to an ongoing investigation within HM Customs. As a result of the investigation, the government official was subsequently charged with one count of breach of trust in a public office.”

Police Public Information Officer Akia Thomas-Nero said the official had been released after arrest.

While Fahie was allegedly plotting with federal agents he believed to be part of the Sinaloa drug cartel, he gave an address to Virgin Islanders about the importance of law and order:

“But the authorities alone cannot solve this problem. All of us as Virgin Islanders, Belongers and residents have a part to play. If you see something, say something. You can do it anonymously. Within our homes and social circles, we also have to try and encourage the persons around us to stay on the right path.”

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