During his Thursday testimony in the drug-conspiracy trial of former premier Andrew Fahie, United States Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Brian Witek confirmed what many Virgin Islands residents had already suspected: the identity of the woman previously referred to in court proceedings as “R.S.” or “Roxane.”
The woman, he said, was Roxane Sylvester, the former deputy chairwoman of the BVI Ports Authority.
At the time of Mr. Fahie’s arrest, Ms. Sylvester — who is not accused of wrongdoing — was in Miami as part of a Virgin Islands delegation attending the Seatrade Cruise Global 2022 cruise industry conference.
According to Mr. Witek’s testimony, she also went to the Embassy Suites hotel in Miami the day before the arrest and attended part of a meeting with Mr. Fahie, BVIPA Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, and two DEA operatives posing as members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.
The next day, she and Ms. Maynard travelled with the undercover DEA operatives to the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, where they briefly boarded a jet that contained fake cash that Ms. Maynard allegedly believed was to be flown to Tortola in the company of Ms. Sylvester, according to Mr. Witek.
Both women were detained as they left the jet, according to the prosecution.
But while Ms. Maynard was held and charged, Ms. Sylvester was released with no charges.
Ms. Sylvester did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Ms. Sylvester’s full name came up in court for the first time Thursday as Mr. Witek, the co-lead investigator in the case, was being examined by prosecutor Brian McLaughlin.
At the time, the prosecutor was introducing evidence into the legal record — including cell phones taken from Mr. Fahie, Ms. Maynard, and her son Kadeem Maynard, who was arrested the same day in St. Thomas — and asking the witness about recordings made during the investigation.
Mr. Fahie, who maintains his innocence, is accused of agreeing to allow the undercover DEA operatives to use VI waters to traffic cocaine — including a 3,000-kilogram shipment later that summer — in exchange for an initial $500,000 in cash and a cut of the proceeds from future drug sales.
During testimony on Thursday, Mr. Witek said he was familiar with the voices of Ms. Sylvester, Mr. Fahie, the Maynards, undercover agent Jossue Dominguez, and a DEA confidential source identified only as “Roberto Quintero.”
All those voices were heard on secretly-captured recordings played during the initial days of the trial, which began on Jan. 29 and has so far focused largely on two meetings at Miami’s Embassy Suites hotel on April 27, 2022.
During the second meeting, which started around 7 p.m. that evening, Mses. Sylvester and Maynard were initially present but then left the room, Mr. Dominguez testified earlier in the week.
The day after the meeting, Messrs. Quintero and Dominguez picked up Mses. Maynard and Sylvester at the Embassy Suites, drove them to the airport, and showed them the fake cash on the plane, according to prosecutors.
The two women were then detained and transported to the DEA’s Weston, Florida office, Mr. Witek said.
But Ms. Sylvester was released without being charged, according to the agent, who did not explain the decisions to detain her or to release her.
Ms. Sylvester’s initials were also included in a motion filed in January, when prosecutors asked Judge Kathleen Williams to prevent the jury from hearing a statement that Ms. Sylvester allegedly made to Ms. Maynard shortly after Ms. Maynard’s arrest.
The motion states that Ms. Sylvester reportedly told Ms. Maynard that Mr. Fahie had said he planned to call VI officials and have Mr. Quintero arrested and the jet seized once it landed in the VI.
Prosecutors, however, argued that this statement should be excluded from the evidence as “inadmissible hearsay” because Ms. Maynard didn’t hear it directly from Mr. Fahie.
Ms. Van Vliet opposed the motion, writing that she intended to bring up the statements during cross-examination not because they were true but “rather for the fact that the statements were made and, as such, are relevant to Mr. Fahie’s defence to the underlying charges.”
Judge Williams has not yet ruled on the motion, according to the court docket.