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Government folds tent in Blackwater weapons case

Posted February 21, 2013

— A federal weapons case against the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide ended Thursday with misdemeanor pleas by two former executives, who were fined and placed on probation.

The case stems in part from a raid conducted by federal agents at the company's Moyock headquarters in 2008 that seized 22 weapons, including 17 AK-47s. An indictment alleged that the company used the Camden County Sheriff's Office to pose as the purchaser of dozens of automatic weapons.

The indictment also alleged that Blackwater purchased 227 short barrels and installed them on long rifles without registering them and that company officials presented the king of Jordan with five guns as gifts in hopes of landing a lucrative overseas contract and then falsified federal documents once they realized they were unable to account for the weapons.

Gary Jackson and William Matthews, the former president and executive vice president of the company and both Navy Seals, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count each of failure to keep records on firearms. They were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years on probation and fined $5,000.

"We would do anything to defend our country. I regret that mistakes were made, but they were made with the best intentions," Matthews said. 

"I still believe we have the best justice system in the world," Jackson added.

All other charges against the men, including conspiracy to violate firearms laws and possession of unregistered firearms, were dismissed. Prosecutors also dropped all charges against former general counsel Andrew Howell, former procurement vice president Ana Bundy and former weapons manager Ronald Slezak.

"All the things (Jackson) was charged with doing that were crimes that he did and the company did ... for the government, at the request of the government, with the full knowledge of the government, and it's just taken us this long to get the government to understand that and to resolve this case with that misdemeanor," Jackson's attorney Ken Bell said.

Blackwater now goes by the name Academi and has shifted its headquarters to the Washington, D.C., area.

Academi last year agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine as part of a $42 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The government deferred prosecution of 17 criminal charges, and federal agents are monitoring the company's actions for an unspecified period to ensure compliance with federal export laws.

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  • disgusted2010 Feb 21, 2013

    Charges weren't dropped for the president, nor the vice president of Blackwater, therefore your first comment is incorrect....Reading is fundamental Bill Brasky

    You are correct, reading IS fundamental, re read my first post, I made NO reference to anyone specific person(s). I do not understand you you constantly attack my posts. Any specific reason?

  • qgirl232 Feb 21, 2013

    Would like to see them be this tedious for a conviction with "Fast and Furious". How many have died now due to the giving of guns to the Mexican drug lords?

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 21, 2013

    We'll never know how much money was spent to keep em out, but I'm betting most of us would live very comfortable.

  • 27228 Feb 21, 2013

    "I still believe we have the best justice system in the world," Jackson added." I bet you do, sir. Got off with a slap on the wrist, despite breaking multiple weapons laws.

  • Crumps Br0ther Feb 21, 2013

    So I guess this wasnt the scandal we were looking for either

  • Bill Brasky Feb 21, 2013

    "In this whole thing I just wonder who was there to profit by taking Blackwater out of the security business"

    Well according to the article Blackwater changed their name and are still in the "security" business, and still being fined for illegal activities.

  • Bill Brasky Feb 21, 2013

    "Prosecutors also dropped all charges against former general counsel Andrew Howell, former procurement vice president Ana Bundy and former weapons manager Ronald Slezak."

    Charges weren't dropped for the president, nor the vice president of Blackwater, therefore your first comment is incorrect....Reading is fundamental

  • frosty Feb 21, 2013

    In this whole thing I just wonder who was there to profit by taking Blackwater out of the security business. Probably an insider "who's your buddy" game. Or a group who thought they were not accountable, and probably were for a while.

  • disgusted2010 Feb 21, 2013

    "Facts show they were fined and put on probation. Therefore your first comment stating charges dropped was incorrect....and that was with a dream team of attorneys to defend them. All they had to do was change their name 3 times...lol" Bill Brasky

    See QUOTE from article below:
    Facts show they were fined and put on probation. Therefore your first comment stating charges dropped was incorrect....and that was with a dream team of attorneys to defend them. All they had to do was change their name 3 times...lol
    Bill Brasky

    "Prosecutors also dropped all charges against former general counsel Andrew Howell, former procurement vice president Ana Bundy and former weapons manager Ronald Slezak."

    Reading is fundamental.

  • Bill Brasky Feb 21, 2013

    "Read it and stand by my comment, which is based on the history of the case. I base my comments on facts not attacks."

    Facts show they were fined and put on probation. Therefore your first comment stating charges dropped was incorrect....and that was with a dream team of attorneys to defend them. All they had to do was change their name 3 times...lol

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