By Allan Lengel
Five ex-executives from Blackwater, the highly controsersial security firm, were charged Friday with illegally acquiring automatic weapons and filing false documents. Some weapons were gifts to the Kingdom of Jordan in hopes of landing a lucrative contract to build and run a training center, authorities said.
The 15-count federal indictment out of Raleigh, N.C. charged Gary Jackson, 52, former President; William Wheeler Mathews, Jr., 44, an attorney and former Executive Vice President and Vice President of Operations; Andrew Howell, 44, General Counsel; Ana Bundy, 45, former Vice President of Logistics and Procurement; and Ronald Slezak, 65, a former armorer. The company now operates under the name XE Services.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said employees acquired the high power weapons in hopes of getting a competitive with contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Specifically, authorities alleged that the company allegedly purchased 227 short barrel rifles without registering them, a violation of the law.
Additionally, the company wanted to acquire a stock of automatic weapons for use at its Moyock, N.C., facility.
But authorities said federal law limits the number of certain firearms.
“To evade the legal limit of no more than two weapons of any type, they allegedly arranged straw purchases with a small local sheriff’s office,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
“Blank letterhead stationery from the sheriff’s office was provided to Blackwater, which was used to prepare letters claiming the sheriff’s office wanted to purchase 17 Romanian AK47s and 17 fully automatic M4s,”the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “The weapons were paid for by Blackwater, were immediately delivered to Blackwater upon their arrival, and were locked in Blackwater’s armory to which the sheriff’s office had no direct access.”
Read Justice Dept. Press Release