Gary Jackson, the ex-President of private security contractor Blackwater (now known as Xe), has been indicted on federal weapons charges, the Associated Press reports. Four other Blackwater officials will also face prosecution. As Mother Jones noted last month, this news wasn’t entirely a surprise. Daniel Schulman (who normally covers these issues for us) explained at the time:
The potential charges are connected to a June 2008 raid on the company’s North Carolina compound by federal agents, who seized nearly two dozen automatic weapons from Blackwater’s armory. The guns, which included 17 Romanian AK-47s, had been purchased by Blackwater but were technically owned by the local sheriff’s office, which had inked an agreement with the company to store the weapons….
Reports of weapons-related improprieties have dogged Blackwater for years. In the past, federal investigators have probed whether the company had illegally smuggled guns (and silencers) into Iraq that wound up in the hands of a Kurdish group designated by the US as a terrorist organization. In court documents, two former Blackwater employees also alleged that the company had smuggled contraband weapons, sometimes hiding them in bags of dog food. Last month, a Senate committee revealed that personnel working for a Blackwater-subsidiary in Afghanistan had aquired hundreds of AK-47s and other weapons they were unauthorized to have from an armory that’s meant to equip the Afghan National Police. In one case, a Blackwater contractor signed for a trove of guns using the alias Eric Cartman, an apparent reference to the South Park character.
The South Park guys have hinted that an episode about the Blackwater/Cartman incident could be forthcoming this season. Anyway, the full AP report on the gun charges is here.