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MIAMI – The premier of the British Virgin Islands and the territory’s ports director are accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S., authorities said Thursday.

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Andrew Alturo Fahie, 51, who has been premier of the Caribbean territory since 2019, and Oleanvine Maynard, the director of the port authority, were arrested by federal agents at Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport, the Miami Herald reported.

According to authorities, the men were charged with conspiring to import cocaine into U.S. and money laundering, the newspaper reported.

John Rankin, governor of the British Virgin Islands, confirmed the arrests in a statement, according to The Guardian.

“I realize this will be shocking news for people in the territory,” Rankin said in his statement. “And I would call for calm at this time.”

Fahie and Maynard were taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration agents. According to the Herald, undercover agents posing as cocaine traffickers met Fahie and Maynard to examine an alleged shipment of $700,000 in cash. Agents, who posed as members of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, believed the plane was bound for the British Virgin Islands, according to the newspaper.

Fahie and Maynard were in Miami for a cruise convention, the Herald reported. They went to the airport, located northwest of downtown Miami, early Thursday to view the cash after DEA agents told them the money was a payoff for allowing the cartel to ship future loads of cocaine through the archipelago, which is adjacent to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Fahie and Maynard are being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami and are scheduled to make their first federal court appearances in Miami on Friday afternoon.

Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, released a statement about the arrests, The Guardian reported.

“This afternoon, the premier of the British Virgin Islands, Andrew Fahie, was arrested in the United States on charges related to drugs trafficking and money laundering,” Truss said in a statement. “I am appalled by these serious allegations.”