MIAMI, Florida — At exactly 11:01 a.m. on Tuesday, a United States Marshal opened the side door to Courtroom 11-3 as his colleague gingerly pushed a wheelchair carrying 62-year-old Oleanvine Maynard.
She wore a beige prison uniform, and her wrists were handcuffed.
The path of a few dozen feet took the one-time BVI Ports Authority managing director directly past former Virgin Islands premier Andrew Fahie, who is on trial in the US federal court for drug-trafficking conspiracy charges that he strongly denies.
Ms. Maynard passed in front of the stenographer, the courtroom deputy and Judge Kathleen Williams. Then she turned right and made her way to the witness stand.
Ms. Williams addressed the US Marshals: “Gentlemen, could you take the handcuffs off, because we have to swear her in?”
They did so and Ms. Maynard — who agreed to testify against Mr. Fahie when she pleaded guilty last year of conspiring with him to import cocaine into the US — shook her wrists, seeming relieved to be free of the cuffs.
Then prosecutor Kevin Gerard began questioning Ms. Maynard, a process that took six hours on Tuesday, ending at 6 p.m., and resumed on Wednesday morning.
As prosecutors played a series of secret recordings, she provided context on interactions she’d had with Mr. Fahie, her son Kadeem Maynard, and DEA operatives she believed to be members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel — a notorious criminal organisation made famous by its one-time kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
From the stand, Ms. Maynard spoke of code words and clandestine meetings; communications with Messrs. Fahie and an undercover DEA operative using her son as a go-between; and even a side deal she and her son conceived to import cocaine into the VI without Mr. Fahie’s knowledge.
Ms. Maynard was still testifying as of Wednesday morning.
Fifth and final witness
Ms. Maynard was the prosecution’s fifth and final witness after five days of testimony.
The four previous witnesses — Jossue Dominguez and Brian Witek, who were both working the case for the DEA, and Customs and Border Protection digital forensic analysts William Cortes and Jon Adams — often served as conduits for prosecutors to present other evidence in the case.
As the four men testified in recent days, prosecutors introduced hours of audio and video recordings taken surreptitiously by Mr. Dominguez and a DEA confidential source who used the named “Roberto Quintero.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Ms. Maynard’s testimony served in large part to tie the prosecution’s story together from start to finish.
Ms. Maynard pleaded guilty in June 2023 to conspiracy to import cocaine, and prosecutors dropped three other charges against her. In exchange for her “truthful testimony” against Mr. Fahie, she could be eligible for a lighter sentencing recommendation from prosecutors.
But for now, Ms. Maynard, assigned Bureau of Prisons register number 07490-506, resides in the Miami Federal Detention Center, a short walk from the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse, where Mr. Fahie’s trial is being held.
‘Situations that occurred’
One of the first questions Mr. Gerard asked Ms. Maynard was the reason for her arrest.
“I was arrested based on situations that occurred within the British Virgin Islands,” Ms. Maynard said, her voice steady.
Judge Williams reminded her to speak slowly and not talk over the prosecutor as he was asking questions.
In response to more questions, Ms. Maynard then told jurors how she ended up in prison and testified that she was taking responsibility for her actions.
Mr. Gerard also asked her early if she was guilty of the drug conspiracy charge to which she pleaded guilty.
“I am guilty of conversation — yes, sir — concerning the drug conspiracy charges, yes,” she said.
Throughout Ms. Maynard’s hours on the stand, Mr. Gerard played multiple recordings of meetings and she remained on hand to interject context.
In her testimony, Ms. Maynard explained that she first got involved in the matter when a contact whose salon she frequented in the VI called her to ask for a meeting. During the meeting, the contact mentioned an “uncle” who wanted to do business in the VI and who wanted to know about the ports and their operation.
“It was not an unusual request that morning,” Ms. Maynard said.
She met the contact and his two associates, a trio she described as “three Arab guys who lived in the British Virgin Islands.”
After the meeting, the men said they would get in touch with Mr. Quintero, but she didn’t hear anything from them “for quite a while,” Ms. Maynard said.
Later, Mr. Quintero visited Ms. Maynard’s son at a club he owned and told him that he was trying to get in touch with Ms. Maynard to “do some business,” she said.
Ms. Maynard and Mr. Quintero then spoke over the phone and agreed to have lunch in St. Thomas on March 30, 2022. Her son accompanied her, and the three met at the island’s Greenhouse Restaurant & Bar, she said.
They met for nearly two hours, with Mr. Quintero explaining that he was an investor, and in the business of shipping cocaine, according to her testimony. He wanted to move the product through the VI, stopping for brief periods, Ms. Maynard said.
However, instead of saying the word “cocaine” aloud during their conversation, he asked her to call it “number three,” she said.
On a secret recording of the meeting played for the jury, Ms. Maynard could be heard describing Mr. Fahie as a “very good friend” who would likely be receptive to investment from Mr. Quintero.
“I know the type of person who he is, so I know he will take the opportunity,” she told Mr. Quintero during the lunch.
At one point during the conversation, Mr. Quintero asked Mr. Maynard if he used drugs.
“No, no, no,” Mr. Maynard replied on the recording.
Ms. Maynard interjected, saying of her son, “I would kill him.”
Also during the meeting, Ms. Maynard pledged to keep her conversations with Mr. Quintero confidential, and she agreed to address the matter with Mr. Fahie.
Additionally, she offered to get Mr. Quintero the licences he would need and suggested that her son would become a shipping agent so that he could help clear Mr. Quintero’s vessels to enter the VI.
‘I want to be rent free’
On the recording, Ms. Maynard was heard explaining to Mr. Quintero what she hoped to gain from their arrangement.
“There are things I want to accomplish. One is to pay off my house in Tortola. And when I retire I want to go to Miami. And in both areas, I want to be rent free,” she said.
Mr. Quintero then asked her to open her bag and he gave her $10,000, Ms. Maynard said.
“It’s just $10,000: a little present for you,” he was heard to say on the tape.
Ms. Maynard replied, “Thank you.”
Asked in court to explain her comment, she told the jury “I said, ‘thank you’ because I was caught off guard and didn’t know what else to do. So I just said ‘thank you.’”
Mr. Gerard asked her if she kept the money.
“Yes, sir,” the witness replied.
“What did you do with it?”
“I put in it a drawer at my home for quite a while,” Ms. Maynard said. “And eventually I had things and friends who would ask me for assistance for bills, and eventually the money was spent.”
‘Welcome to the Sinaloa Cartel’
A few moments after she accepted the money, Mr. Quintero took Ms. Maynard’s hand.
“Welcome, my friend. Welcome to the Sinaloa Cartel,” he said on the recording. “I know this will be a good relationship for us.”
Addressing the jury, Ms. Maynard explained, “He made a statement and he shook my hand. At that time, I wasn’t so familiar with this cartel business. Well, I’d heard the name, but I wasn’t so much into what it was all about. But I just went along with it.”
The Maynards then took a ferry back to the VI, and she reached out to Mr. Fahie a few days later to set up a meeting.
On March 22, she met with the premier in his office, she said.
“I said to Mr. Fahie that I met with a potential investor in St. Thomas over the weekend and he was interested in doing business within the British Virgin Islands,” she said. “I briefly mentioned to him that one of the things he wanted to do was to bring the vessel to travel via the waters of the British Virgin Islands. I said to him that whatever was on that boat would not remain in the BVI. It would just be passing through.”
After telling Mr. Fahie that the “gentleman had money,” Ms. Maynard found him receptive, she told the jury.
“He listened to what I had to say, and he agreed to meet with Roberto based on what I had said to him,” Ms. Maynard said.
The premier then asked her for some $83,000 to “clear some bills” that he said his political party, the Virgin Islands Party, had incurred during the previous election, she testified. Later, she said, Mr. Fahie wanted to increase the amount by $500,000.
According to Ms. Maynard, the premier also suggested they use code words to discuss Mr. Quintero’s proposal.
“We used the initials RTW when wanted to discuss it,” Ms. Maynard said
That referred to the grocer Road Town Wholesale, a business that at the time had a “dispute” with the BVIPA over port storage fees, Ms. Maynard said.
Parham Town meeting
Eventually, Mr. Fahie agreed to meet with Mr. Quintero in the VI to further discuss his proposal, according to Ms. Maynard.
The DEA confidential source traveled to Tortola by ferry on April 7 and Ms. Maynard met him at Maria’s by the Sea hotel in Road Town, she said.
They then entered a car driven by Mr. Fahie’s driver — with Mr. Fahie, Mr. Quintero and Ms. Maynard in the backseat — and drove about 25 minutes to a seven-bedroom house in Parham Town, she testified.
At the house, Mr. Quintero explained that his organisation wanted “safe passage” through the VI to traffic drugs, Ms. Maynard said. He explained the idea of a test run of 3,000 kilograms of cocaine packed in five-gallon buckets of construction materials, according to a recording of the conversation played in court.
Mr. Quintero said he would need a 24-to-48-hour window to begin the shipment.
“None of it would remain on the island,” Ms. Maynard told the jury.
$20,000 cash ‘gift’
After some negotiation, Messrs. Fahie and Quintero agreed that the premier would receive 12 percent of the profits from future cocaine shipments: 10 percent for Mr. Fahie to keep himself and another two percent “to pay around” for bribes as needed, according to the recording.
After a few moments, Mr. Fahie asked Mr. Quintero: “How do I know you’re not undercover police?”
Mr. Quintero insisted that he was not an undercover cop, a spy, or a “pig.”
Mr. Fahie then explained that he was a “straightforward person.”
“With me, what you see is what you get. That’s why the British don’t like me, because I tell them when I agree and when I don’t,” he said.
Mr. Quintero then assured Mr. Fahie that he wouldn’t be “touching” anything.
“I will touch one thing: the money,” the premier replied on the recording, adding that he felt Mr. Quintero had answered his question “perfectly.”
A few moments later, Mr. Quintero presented Mr. Fahie with a “gift” of $20,000 in cash, which Mr. Fahie placed in his briefcase, Ms. Maynard said.
“At any point, did you see Mr. Fahie give the money back to Roberto?” Mr. Gerard asked.
“I never saw that exchange,” she replied, explaining that she was present for the entire meeting except when she left so use the bathroom.
A moment later, she added, “I didn’t see him give it back, so I assume he still has it. But I cannot say what happened to it.”
On the recording, Mr. Quintero explained that the cash was a “good faith gift” to “ensure that we have an agreement.”
The men then spoke about scheduling their next meetings in Miami on April 27 and 28, 2022 and the $700,000 that Mr. Fahie and Ms. Maynard were to receive, according to the recording.
Ms. Maynard was slated to be cross-examined by Mr. Fahie’s attorney Theresa Van Vliet after finishing her testimony Wednesday. Mr. Fahie has denied wrongdoing and contests all the charges against him.