U.S. Considers Using Drug Law to Prosecute Blackwater Guards
Federal prosecutors are reportedly readying indictments for the Blackwater Worldwide guards who are alleged to have participated in the 2007 shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians. The shootings left 17 dead and strained U.S.-Iraq relations.
Now prosecutors are considering using an anti-drug law to prosecute those involved, the Associated Press reports.
Drugs were not involved in the Blackwater shootings, but the AP reports that the Justice Department is considering using the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not.
Blackwater has reportedly cooperated with investigators and is not a target in the case. A company spokeswoman told the AP that the company maintains that its guards were under attack and acted lawfully. “If it is determined that an individual acted improperly, Blackwater would support holding that person accountable,” spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said.
The AP points out that a major hurdle for prosecutors is to convince the court that contractors can be charged for crimes committed overseas.