December 4, 2008 – Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly Baghdad shooting of Iraqi civilians in 2007 could face mandatory 30-year prison sentences.
People close to the case say the Justice Department could prosecute the guards under an anti-drug law, even though drugs were not involved.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 law calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not.
Blackwater’s guards, hired to protect U.S. diplomats, were responding to a car bombing when a shooting erupted in a crowded intersection. Blackwater insists its convoy was ambushed by insurgents. Witnesses said the guards were unprovoked.
Charges could be announced as early as Monday.