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Maynard and Son Plead Guilty to Conspiracy: Plea Agreement Can Reduce Mandatory Sentences.

Photo credit: BVI Press Office. Oleanvine Maynard has reached a plea deal with US federal authorities on cocaine smuggling conspiracy charges.

Jonathan Mason-June 15th, 2023.

A mother and son have pleaded guilty in a federal court in Miami under a plea agreement to conspiracy to import cocaine in a scheme that also allegedly involved the former premier of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Andrew Fahie.

As part of Oleanvine Pickering Maynard’s plea agreement, she has agreed to “cooperate fully” with prosecutors as Fahie’s jury trial is scheduled to begin on July 17.

She has also agreed to many of the acts that were alleged in the initial affidavit, including conversations between herself and a confidential source (CS), who she and her co-defendants believed was a member of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.

Maynard, the former BVI Ports Authority managing director along with her son, 32-year-old Kadeem Stephan Maynard, and Fahie faced one count each of conspiracy to import a controlled substance, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and attempted money laundering.

Mrs Oleanvine Maynard was appointed Managing Director of the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority (BVIPA), in March 2021 after 33 years of civil service employment in the BVI.

In addition, the former ports executive and Fahie face an additional count of “interstate and foreign travel in aid of racketeering”.

In April last year, Fahie was detained  by US agents posing as cocaine traffickers from a Mexican drug cartel. According to the charges filed, he agreed to a US$700,000 payment to allow traffickers to use BVI ports with an undercover informant.

The trio have been charged with conspiracy to import more than 11 pounds of cocaine into the US and conspiring to commit money laundering. In the criminal complaint filed in a US federal court, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said the investigation was launched in October based on work carried out by a confidential informant.

Court officials said that by accepting the plea agreement, the Maynards could avoid possible life sentences in prison.

“The defendant (Kadeem) agrees to plead guilty to Count 1 of the superseding indictment, which charges the defendant with conspiracy to import cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 963 and 952(a),” according to the plea agreement.

Earlier this week, the prosecutors removed charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and attempted money laundering from the indictment the Maynards faced and agreed to recommend leniency at sentencing.

The agreement, however, hinges greatly on his full cooperation with prosecutors in their case against the former premier.

According to the plea agreement, prosecutors determined that Kadeem was a “minor participant” in the criminal activity, and therefore should receive a two-level reduction at sentencing.

What is Safety Valve Eligible?

Safety Valve is a provision codified in 18 U.S.C. 3553(f), that applies to non-violent, cooperative defendants with minimal criminal record without a leadership enhancement convicted under several federal criminal statutes. Congress created Safety Valve in order to ensure that low-level participants of drug organizations were not disproportionately punished for their conduct.

Generally applying to drug crimes with a mandatory minimum, Safety Valve has two major benefits for individuals charged with those crimes. Specifically, the two benefits of Safety Valve are:

  1. Relief from a mandatory minimum for certain crimes;
  2. Two-level reduction in offense conduct under U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

It appears likely that the Maynards would be considered Safety Valve eligible for purposes of sentencing, but it is likely that they will be expected to testify against others.

Sources:  Caribbean Loop News, www.offshorealert.com, United States 
Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida.