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British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Alturo Fahie was arrested by federal authorities in Miami on Thursday on drug smuggling charges.
Fahie and Managing Director of the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority Oleanvine Maynard were charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to launder money after being taken into custody by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The pair were allegedly at the Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport to meet with undercover DEA agents who they thought were Mexican drug traffickers bringing them $700,000 as a reward for helping smuggle cocaine from Colombia to Miami and New York.
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The officials are accused of allowing the traffickers to bring the drugs through the port in Tortola in the Virgin Islands on the way to the U.S.
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A DEA confidential source had previously met with Maynard and her son, who faces the same charges.
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“Anyone involved with bringing dangerous drugs into the United States will be held accountable, no matter their position,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. “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.”
The premier is the head of the government and is elected in a general election along with the other members of the ruling government, with the island’s ultimate authority being Queen Elizabeth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.