Oleanvine Pickering Maynard, the former managing director of the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority, and her son pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import a controlled substance Monday, filing court documents implicating former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie in an alleged cocaine-running, money-laundering sting.
Pickering Maynard, 61, and Kadeem Stephan Maynard, 32, were arrested April 28, 2022, in a scheme to make Tortola a major drug-smuggling hub. They and then-BVI Premier Fahie planned to import thousands of pounds of cocaine from Central American drug cartels, according to Pickering Maynard’s guilty plea.
The plea agreement reached in a Florida courtroom Monday afternoon could have the mother and son spend 10 years in prison and forfeit a yet-undetermined amount of money or property. The plea deal also revealed more details of the smuggling plot.
In March 2022, Kadeem Maynard approached his mother and Fahie with a proposal to allow cocaine-laden shipping containers to layover in Tortola. The 3,000 kilograms of drugs per container — more than 6,600 pounds — would gain legitimacy by sitting in Tortola for a day or two before moving on to Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, according to court documents.
The international drug smuggler Maynard had met was not, in fact, from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel but the Drug Enforcement Administration — a confidential source, or CS.
“Fahie agreed to bribe officials managing the ports and airports in furtherance of the scheme, and the defendant and Kadeem agreed to obtain the necessary licenses and paperwork authorizing the CS’s vessels to port in the BVI without suspicion,” Pickering Maynard told prosecutors, according to the plea deal.
The agreement went on to detail more of the operations: “On April 7, 2022, the CS met in person with the defendant and Fahie in Tortola, during which Fahie agreed to the CS’s proposed cocaine trafficking scheme in exchange for 12 percent of the proceeds from the sales of the cocaine in Miami and New York, with 2 percent to be used for bribes. The CS said that a kilogram of cocaine would sell for $26,000-$28,000 per kilogram in Miami and $34,000-$38,000 per kilogram in New York. Fahie used a calculator to determine that his 10 percent of a 3,000-kilogram load sold for $26,000 per kilogram would be $7.8 million. Fahie, the defendant, and the CS agreed that Fahie and the defendant would meet the CS in Miami, where the CS would provide a $500,000 upfront payment to Fahie and a $200,000 payment to the defendant. The defendant would then fly back to the BVI with the money.”
But neither Pickering Maynard nor Fahie made it back to Tortola.
Pickering Maynard was arrested after stepping off a private plane at a Miami-area airport. She’d just inspected what she believed to be $900,000 in cash — $200,000 for her and $700,000 for Fahie — according to prosecutors. She allegedly assured confidential government informants that she and Fahie had helped others set up shell companies to help hide illicit proceeds.
They planned to hide the money to avoid detection, the plea states.
When Fahie was arrested stepping off the same plane earlier that stormy Thursday while in town to attend the Seatrade cruise ship conference, he allegedly said: “Why am I being arrested; I don’t have any money or drugs on me.”
The case against Fahie, who has maintained his innocence while out on bail, is scheduled for trial July 17.
U.S. federal agents said they had compiled 8,000 minutes of secretly-recorded audio tape on which, according to court records, the Maynards and Fahie agreed to work with a terrorist organization and Central American drug cartels to smuggle cocaine and hide cash payments.
Kadeem Maynard, who investigators said had bragged about two decades of drug running despite his young age, was arrested in St. Thomas the same day as his mother and Fahie. He was there inspecting a similar cash payment, prosecutors said. He’d allegedly asked to also be compensated in part in cocaine for resale.
The trio used code names in the would-be smuggling operation. Fahie was called Coach or Head Coach. Pickering Maynard was Rose or P. Her son went by Blacka, according to court records.
Pickering Maynard was originally charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance (cocaine), conspiracy to engage in money laundering, attempted money laundering, and foreign travel in aid of racketeering, the same charges Fahie is still fighting.
Maynard was originally charged with conspiracy to import a controlled substance (cocaine), conspiracy to engage in money laundering, and attempted money laundering.
They had faced the possibility of life in prison and $10 million in fines if convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors said Fahie also bragged to undercover federal agents about decades of crimes, complaining he was often not fairly compensated. He allegedly offered to help smuggle firearms, as well. Fahie and his attorney have repeatedly sought the identity of the person who made the recordings.
Along with the audio recordings, prosecutors have also handed defense attorneys phone records, WhatsApp data, law enforcement reports from Puerto Rico, and bank records. Prosecutors also extracted “voluminous” video and other data from the defendants’ phones, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Fahie and Pickering-Maynard allegedly boasted of a well-oiled smuggling and money-laundering machine at their disposal, bribing island authorities and forming shell companies to hide illegal activities.
Fahie was frustrated, according to prosecutors, at not being paid well enough for earlier illicit acts. Prosecutors have not yet released details about who is named on the tapes. On the bribe list, according to court documents, were police, port authority personnel, and at least one senior BVI government official — but exactly who was not yet clear. The plea agreement stipulated Maynard and Pickering Maynard must tell the truth about their crime and any associated crimes.
Pickering Maynard, a former candidate for the BVI’s Assembly, had previously headed the influential Department of Labour and Workforce Development.
The United Kingdom’s Commission of Inquiry report, issued shortly after the arrests, alleges potential widespread corruption within the British overseas territory — so much so that auditors recommended suspending the constitution and sacking elected officials.
But the published report did not name wrongdoers, only saying further investigation was needed. Recent investigations include whether public officials were manipulating labor laws in human trafficking schemes.
A long-serving employee in the premier’s office was arrested in October 2022 and charged with illegally sending a letter to U.S. officials seeking Fahie’s release, claiming he was immune. He was not.
A day after the arrest, the United Kingdom government released a report recommending direct control of the BVI by London, dissolving local government, and launching a full investigation of probable corruption. A deal brokered with now-Premier Natalio Wheatley averted loss of local control. Wheatley and other BVI officials have pledged to work with the U.K. Commission.
In 2015, as Pickering Maynard was campaigning for Tortola’s 7th District Assembly seat, she wrote about her abilities to navigate government hierarchies while remaining approachable and grounded.
“I am a lady that grew up poor in Long Look and I have worked more than half my life in the civil service in many capacities. I know more about the government than most of the politicians currently elected. I have a genuine interest in encouraging the people of our district to be better and to raise themselves up from oppression. I am open to criticism from all fronts because, I feel that is the only way for the people to be involved in the process. I am a friendly and approachable individual, who is open to talk and share with anyone no matter who they are,” she wrote on social media.
She did not win the election.