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HomeNewsLocal newsBVI Ports Director Called Fahie “Little Crook” On Secret Recordings

BVI Ports Director Called Fahie “Little Crook” On Secret Recordings

The alleged cocaine smuggling scheme that snared BVI Premier Andrew Fahie and Ports Authority Director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard was hatched in a St. Thomas restaurant, where Pickering Maynard described Fahie, seen here a day before his arrest, as “a little crook.” (Photo courtesy of BVI GIS)

Court records filed Thursday detail secret recordings of the alleged drug smuggling plot that snared top BVI officials, as well as former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie’s planned defense.

A U.S. federal informant posing as a member of a notorious drug cartel met then-British Virgin Islands Ports Authority Director Oleanvine Pickering Maynard in a St. Thomas restaurant March 20, 2022. He suggested a scheme to smuggle vast quantities of cocaine to Tortola. The shipping containers would sit for a few days to gain legitimacy before being moved on to Puerto Rico, Miami, and New York. Pickering Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard, agreed to the plot and said Fahie would too, recent court records revealed.

The informant secretly recorded the conversation and many others.

“I know the type of person he is, so I know he will take the opportunity,” Pickering Maynard said, according to court records. “You see, with my premier, he’s a little crook sometimes. … He’s not always straight.”

Pickering Maynard said setting up procedural ways to disguise the shipments would be no problem for her. “We can process your paperwork, you will be in the territory legally for the couple of days you want and move on. That part is easy,” she allegedly said on the recordings.

Pickering Maynard said she’d start her “homework” on the smuggling scheme the next day and accepted $10,000 in cash as a gesture of good faith. The man she believed was a global cocaine smuggler then sealed the deal.

“Give me your hand. Welcome to the Sinaloa Cartel,” he said, according to prosecutors.

Accepting membership into the violent drug cartel, which smuggles heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs while committing murders and kidnappings, was at odds with descriptions of Pickering Maynard in letters of support from her family and friends to the court. They told of a big-hearted, religious person who made a mistake. They asked for lenience after she agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine in July. As part of the plea agreement, she promised to tell prosecutors everything she knew about the plot and is scheduled to testify against Fahie at his January trial in Miami.

Fahie was arrested April 28, 2022, while stepping off a private plane at a small Miami airport after inspecting what he believed to be a $700,000 downpayment in exchange for arranging for thousands of kilograms of cocaine to pass through the BVI, prosecutors allege.

At the time of his arrest, Fahie claimed he wasn’t involved in any drug running and that the $700,000 was for someone else’s “shipping materials,” prosecutors said.

Fahie was released on bail in June 2022 and has been largely confined to his daughter’s Miami apartment since. Pickering Maynard and her son, Kadeem Maynard, who pleaded guilty to a single conspiracy to import cocaine charge and was sentenced to 57 months in prison, were not allowed bail.

Federal agents began recording phone calls about the alleged BVI smuggling plan in October 2021, according to court records. Prosecutors would eventually amass more than 8,000 minutes of tape recordings of phone calls and in-person meetings in the case, as well as extensive data from Fahie’s mobile phone, including WhatsApp messages. Although they adopted code names for the alleged scheme, both Fahie and Pickering Maynard appear to have used their usual mobile phone numbers in conversation with undercover agents, according to court records.

At trial, prosecutors plan to play recordings starting with the March 20, 2022, restaurant meeting in St. Thomas. Prosecutors asked the court to ban Fahie’s attorney from asking about the exact type of equipment used to make the secret recordings.

Prosecutors also want to bar Fahie from asserting government agents entrapped him in the plot. Fahie spoke with Pickering Maynard about the smuggling scheme before ever meeting the informants. When they did meet, Fahie used codewords supplied by Pickering Maynard to refer to the scheme, according to court records.

The undercover agent first spoke with Fahie by phone, introducing himself as a “fixer” from Mexico, according to court documents. Fahie arranged for the supposed fixer to travel to the BVI, chose the place of the meeting, and had his driver pick up the pretend drug runner. Fahie allegedly had his own security detail standing by as the agent said the plot would involve smuggling cocaine.

The undercover agent then gave Fahie a chance to back out, saying, “We can do it or we cannot. And we will be friends. Now, so we good on, on that matter?” Fahie, according to court records, responded, “Yeah, I’m good.”

Fahie asked for $500,000 to bribe other BVI officials, prosecutors allege. Exactly who the bribes were meant for was not clear but Pickering Maynard and her son told the undercover officers they were in talks with BVI Customs officials to set up a shipping business. Pickering Maynard planned to get various licenses to help legitimize the scheme, according to court records.

She said another BVI government official needed to be involved.

Fahie allegedly made a statement to someone not previously identified in descriptions of the events that prosecutors want excluded from the trial evidence.

Pickering Maynard was arrested the same day as Fahie after inspecting what she believed to be her portion of an initial payment. Someone identified only as R.S. was arrested with Pickering Maynard.

As she was being processed by federal agents after her arrest, R.S. told Pickering Maynard that prior to Fahie’s arrest, he had planned to have the undercover agent arrested and the $700,000 seized when he got back to Tortola. Pickering Maynard never heard this directly from Fahie, only from R.S., according to court records.

The identity of R.S. was not clear.

Two days after the St. Thomas meeting, Fahie, going by the code name Head Coach, allegedly told the Maynards he was eager to participate in the cocaine plot.

Pickering Maynard, in a recorded conversation, said she and Fahie had made a pact to take their secrets to the grave.

“He gave me some code words to use, and when I give him them code words, he will call me to meet with him privately. I tell him, this is something two of us die and go to the grave with. Not a next man should know. So, he has agreed to that, too. And he’s very much interested, he’s doing business with you,” prosecutors said Pickering Maynard said on the tapes. “He too want to know how serious you are. And I tell him, you’re very much so serious.”

They planned an April 7, 2022, meeting with Fahie, according to court records.

On March 31, 2022, at 7:30 a.m., Fahie asked Pickering Maynard to supply the supposed drug runner’s full name, picture, biography, and more, prosecutors said. Fahie, Pickering Maynard, her son, and the informant spoke on the phone April 1, 2022. The call was meant to assure Fahie of the supposed drug smuggler’s legitimacy. Fahie said he needed to be cautious, according to court records.

“It took me 20 years to get here, and I don’t want to leave in 20 minutes,” Fahie reportedly said.

After the call, Kadeem Maynard assured the federal informant Fahie was convinced.

“He say he feel much comfortable now and we going forward he going make sure your [sic] safe and whatever you want try to make sure you have what you need…just want to make sure the funds is for real,” he wrote in a WhatsApp message.

They met in person in Tortola seven days later. Fahie was in the car when it picked up the confidential informant and Pickering Maynard. They drove to a large, secluded house and deliberated the plan, according to court records.

The informant said the cocaine shipments would come from different places, sometimes Colombia or Trinidad and Tobago, or the Dominican Republic. The product would stay in Tortola for a day or two, then go to the U.S. mainland via Puerto Rico, according to court records. None of the cocaine would be sold in the British Virgin Islands, where a kilogram of cocaine goes for $10,000. It was bound for Miami and New York, where the price was at least $26,000.

Fahie said he understood. “The market is too cheap,” he allegedly said in recordings of the meeting. Fahie took out a calculator and multiplied 26,000 by three, according to court records, saying, “That’s 78 mil?”

Fahie allegedly asked the undercover officer if he was an undercover officer during the meeting. The officer said: “I have no problem with your question, and thank you that, that you understand. But it’s, it’s the same. You just trust.”

Fahie allegedly responded, “Yeah, I’m good.”

The undercover officer then reminded Fahie he wouldn’t actually be touching any of the drugs.

Fahie replied, “I will touch one thing, the money,” according to court records.

They agreed Fahie would get a 10 percent share with an additional 2 percent “to pay around,” according to court records. The federal agent gave Fahie $20,000 cash as a gesture of good faith.

Later, during a Miami court appearance, Fahie told Pickering Maynard he had returned the $20,000. Pickering Maynard did not see the transaction, according to prosecutors, but was unable to respond because court security told them to be quiet.

The private plane where Fahie and Pickering Maynard were arrested had been arranged by Kadeem Maynard to fly $700,000 from Miami to Tortola — $500,000 for Fahie, $200,000 for Pickering Maynard.

The Ports Authority Director’s son “had control of officials at the airport and confirmed they would allow the plane to land,” prosecutors said. “Kadeem confirmed that he had coordinated tower control and ground control. He said he had his people to come and collect the suitcases and that no one from customs would interfere.”

Pickering Maynard confirmed no Customs officials would bother the first drug shipments, planned for July 2022. She would move other vessels out of the way so the drug ship could anchor just off Tortola. Pickering Maynard wanted her 5 percent of the haul wired to her U.S.-based accounts, according to court records.

Prosecutors suspected it was not the first time Fahie had moved large sums of money between the cities undetected.

The U.S. and BVI governments had investigated Andrew Fahie and his wife Sheila Fahie in 2003 for potentially smuggling undeclared cash from the BVI into Miami by evading customs requirements. International travelers to the United States carrying more than $10,000 must list it on their Customs Declaration Form. The Fahies allegedly used couriers to carry $9,000 each, then give it back in Miami. They repeated this at least once more and also sent themselves money via Western Union, court records show investigators alleged.

Neither Sheila nor Andrew Fahie were charged with the alleged 2002 and 2003 crimes, however. Fahie would later claim the 2003 investigation was a political attack.

In addition to Picking Maynard, three Drug Enforcement Administration officers and two Customs and Border Protection officers are scheduled to testify in Fahie’s Jan. 8 trial. Fahie had asked several times to know the identity of the confidential government informants before trial. Kadeem Maynard was not on the witness list.

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