According to the Associated Press, Hon Fahie stood handcuffed shaking his head in disagreement as Assistant US attorney Frederic Shadley described in court how the politician had bragged in recorded conversations with a DEA informant that he had 15-20 years of criminal activity under his belt.
According to the criminal complaint, Fahie told the DEA informant that he was close to a known drug smuggler on the Caribbean island as well as an unidentified political associate from Senegal whom he agreed to approach about smuggling firearms. In the course of those conversations, he asked the DEA informant to pay upward of $100,000 to settle a debt with the Senegalese man, the complaint says.
“He’s shown in this case that he’s corrupt to the core and believes he’s above the law,” Shadley said. “He was a public servant sworn to uphold those laws but he broke them over and over again.”
However, Van Vliet, the former head of the Justice Department's narcotics division in Washington, disputed that characterisation and said her client would plead not guilty when he’s arraigned later this month.
Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes seemed convinced by Van Vliet's argument that Fahie's continued detention would make it impossible for him to carry out his official duties at a critical juncture for the islands, as officials weigh suspending the territory’s constitution in an attempt to clean up rampant corruption.
“These are the most serious of duties that he could and should be performing,” said Van Vliet, the former head of the Justice Department's narcotics division in Washington.
Otazo-Reyes rejected prosecutors’ argument that Andrew Fahie may flee the U.S. and possibly engage in criminal activity if he is freed. Instead, she said he could remain in Miami, confined to the rented apartment of his two college-age daughters, if he and his family surrender their passports and he wears an ankle bracelet monitor in addition to paying the sizable corporate surety bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederic Shadley said the government would appeal the decision, meaning it’s unclear when and if Fahie would be released.
Currently, there is a motion being debated in the House of Assembly (HoA) to have Hon Fahie removed as Premier of the Virgin Islands to make way for the proposed unity government, with Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) at the helm.