December 8th, 2008
11:29 AM ET

Ex-Blackwater guards surrender in Utah

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/12/08/iraq.blackwater.indictment/art.dustin.heard.blkwtr.cnn.jpg caption="Dustin Heard, an ex-security guard from Blackwater Worldwide, surrenders Monday in Salt Lake City, Utah. "]

Five former security guards from Blackwater Worldwide turned themselves in to federal authorities Monday in Salt Lake City, Utah, over charges stemming from the 2007 shootings in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqis.

The Justice Department on Monday plans to charge the former guards with manslaughter and a weapons charge of using a machine gun while committing a crime of violence, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

A sixth Blackwater guard tied to the incident has reached a plea deal with the government, a source said.

The Justice Department ordered the guards to surrender by Monday or face arrest. One of the guards is from Utah.

The sources said that defense attorneys decided to have all of them surrender in one location rather than in their home states or in Washington, where the federal grand jury handed up the charges last week.

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Filed under: Iraq • Justice Department
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. hugh ~ california

    I see some more Bush pardons coming soon.

    December 8, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  2. Ron

    Everyone should read Big Boy Rules: American Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq" to get a feel for how insane the situation on the ground in Iraq really is. There are at least 80,000 heavily armed mercenaries, our government insists on calling them "private security guards", that have been allowed to shoot anyone, at any time, in any place, so long as they say they felt threatened! They are not subject to USA law, Iraqi law, or military law and many of them are being paid as much as $20,000 a month. Blackwater is just one of dozens of companies involved in this deadly game. In the latest SOFA (status of forces agreement) the Iraqi gov. tried to gain some authority over these mercenaries but the final wording of the document, which is available online, manages to maintain immunity by giving these paid shooters the right to shoot anyone they feel the need to shoot, so long as they do it while they're "on duty." Blackwater mercenaries reportedly shoot people just to clear crowded intersections so they can drive through and that may be exactly what happened in this case the government is going to make a show of prosecuting in Salt Lake. Its gonna be hard to do since the guys had immunity, doncha think?

    December 8, 2008 at 1:40 pm |