(CMR) The trial of former British Virgin Islands’ premier Andrew Fahie, who was charged with drug trafficking, started in the US on Monday, with prosecutors describing the trial as an open-and-shut case.
According to the Miami Herald, the US Government made its cocaine-smuggling case against the former premier by casting a confidential informant as a Mexican cartel trafficker.
The informant, who went by the name “Roberto,” collected hundreds of recorded conversations and text messages with BVI premier Andrew Fah. At the same time, they discussed million-dollar bribery payments for access to the British territory, a prosecutor said Monday at the start of the former politician’s drug-trafficking trial in Miami federal court.
Fahie agreed to let thousands of kilos of cocaine pass through his ports to be sold in the United States — “all so the defendant could stuff his own pockets with bribe money,” prosecutor Sean McLaughlin told jurors.
Fahie’s defense team said that his words would show he had no intention of using his power to enrich himself on cocaine shipments to the United States. One of Fahie's lawyers argued during an opening statement that Fahie was “framed” by the United Kingdom.
“He believed the UK government was involved in a scheme to frame him to remove him from office,” attorney Joyce Delgado told the 12-person jury.
At the time of the DEA sting, the UK government was concluding a corruption investigation of Fahie’s administration. However, British authorities said it was not related to the DEA’s sting operation.