Camden still affected by federal weapons probe
It's still not business as usual these days for the Camden County Sheriff's Office, which last year saw its top deputy resign and two weeks ago plead guilty to using the sheriff's office to buy automatic weapons for the former security contractor known as Blackwater.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Daily Advance.
#1 Dec 3, 2011
Time will tell what the comprehensive story is...maybe. I hope the whole truth comes out.
Aside from the issue at the sheriff's department, I see the bigger issue as restricting Blackwater from getting the arms they need to assist the US efforts in war zones. Major Worthington's actions shouldn't have been needed. Due to a bad law a lot of hurt has occurred.
#2 Dec 10, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C.— A former North Carolina deputy has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he used the Camden County Sheriff's Office as a front to buy automatic weapons for the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reports ( http://bit.ly/uzPDSu ) that 45-year-old Jonathan Worthington pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court. Worthington was charged with aiding and abetting others by making false statements related to records required of a licensed firearms dealer. He's expected to be sentenced in February.
Several former Blackwater employees face similar charges and are awaiting trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bowler says the sheriff's office had no need for the 34 automatic weapons Worthington ordered on sheriff's office letterhead. Worthington also worked as a firearms instructor for Blackwater, which is now called Xe Services.http://www.signonsand iego.com/news/2011/nov/15/form er-nc-deputy-pleads-guilty-in- blackwater-deal/
#3 Dec 10, 2011
The case is still under investigation. Although Sheriff Tony Perry has not been accused of any wrongdoing, until the investigation wraps up and all involved are sentenced, it has to be a bit unnerving for the department, which includes 16 full-time deputies and the sheriff.
On Nov. 14, Jon Worthington, 45, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenville to aiding and abetting others by making false statements about records required of a licensed firearms dealer.
The charge stemmed from Worthington’s use of sheriff’s department stationery to authorize the purchase of weapons for Blackwater’s use.
Worthington, who remains free on $25,000 unsecured bond, faces up to five years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Those charges resulted from a weapons agreement Worthington signed with Jackson some five years earlier. That agreement came to light in 2008 when agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided Blackwater’s armory and seized 34 high-powered automatic assault rifles.
Under the agreement Worthington signed with Jackson, Blackwater agreed to purchase 17 Romanian-made AK-47 rifles and Bushmaster rifles for use by the Camden Sheriff’s Department. The weapons, however, would remain stored in Blackwater’s armory at the contractor’s compound.
Federal investigators said the deal helped Blackwater sidestep a federal law prohibiting private parties from buying automatic weapons manufactured after 1986. Only law enforcement agencies are allowed to own such weapons.
Shortly after the federal raid on Blackwater, Perry denied entering into an agreement to help the contractor avoid gun laws. He said that Blackwater bought the automatic weapons for the department’s newly formed SWAT team and that the company intended to train his deputies in their use.
We never bought the argument that Camden County needed a SWAT team with 34 automatic weapons, and apparently the U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t buy it either.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Blackwater wanted the illegal weapons for their own security contracts and operations and the Camden County Sheriff’s Department simply provided the means.
After Worthington’s guilty plea two weeks ago, Perry said his office has been cooperating in the investigation and that neither he nor the sheriff’s department is a target in the probe.
Meanwhile, a number of questions we asked over a year ago remain unanswered.
We urged Perry to explain, if it was his plan to acquire weapons for a SWAT team, why wasn’t his name on the Blackwater weapons purchase documents? As the chief law officer in the county, he should be signing off on such huge weapons deals, not a deputy.
We also wondered why Perry didn’t consult with the county attorney before the agreement was signed with Blackwater. He made a point of consulting with County Attorney John Morrison after the ATF raid in 2008.“I feel personally nothing has been done wrong, but I wanted to make sure,” Perry said. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to check before his office agreed to the weapons deal?
Since the case is apparently still ongoing, it would be wrong to assume anyone else’s involvement. We don’t know whom else, if anyone, Worthington will implicate.http://www.dailyadva nce.com/opinion/our-views/camd en-still-affected-federal-weap ons-probe-781213
Worthington, who remains free on $25,000 unsecured bond, faces up to five years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.“I feel personally nothing has been done wrong, but I wanted to make sure,” Perry said.Perry the chief law officer could have
stoped this from happening.Perry may think nothing
has done nothing wrong however Mr. Worthington has got to go to prison.
#4 Dec 12, 2011
Perry said he can't remember who came up with the idea for the weapons deal. He said the county was trying to put together a SWAT team at the time.
Not the best choice?
The AK-47 would be a poor choice of weapon for a SWAT team, said John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, the national organization of SWAT officers.
As a combat weapon, the AK-47 is too large and powerful for SWAT teams, Gnagey said. It is rugged but relatively inaccurate.
"And there's the perception problem," Gnagey said. "Every terrorist attacking the U.S. is armed with AK-47s. "
Most SWAT teams use the H&K MP5 submachine gun or the Bushmaster M4, he said.
Under federal law, only government agencies -- military or law enforcement -- are allowed to acquire and possess automatic weapons. There is an exception for automatic weapons purchased before May 1986, when the law went into effect.
Firearms dealers are allowed, under strict conditions, to acquire an automatic weapon if they need to demonstrate the weapon to a police department or other government agency interested in buying the weapon.
Under federal law, it is illegal for a person to receive or possess an automatic weapon that is not registered to that person in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The 34 weapons are registered to the Camden County sheriff. Seventeen AK-47s and five Bushmasters are stored and used at Blackwater. The other 12 Bushmasters are assigned to Camden County deputies, the sheriff said.
Weapons' use defended
Jackson, the Blackwater CEO, said he was not violating federal firearms law.
"I don't believe so," Jackson said. "As long as I have contracts, I can buy fully automatic weapons."
Jackson and Erik Prince, Blackwater's owner, said Blackwater used the AK-47s in training to familiarize police officers or members of the military with a foreign weapon that they might come across while making an arrest or on a battlefield.
Blackwater may also use the AK-47s to train military personnel from other countries who come to the United States for anti-terrorism training funded by the State Department, Prince and Jackson said.
"If the contract tells us to, we do it," Jackson said.
The agreement between Blackwater and the Sheriff's Office could be an illegal straw purchase, said Richard Myers, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A straw purchase, Myers said, is when one person fills out the federal firearms registration form to obtain a weapon for another person's use.
"I prosecuted several when I was with the U.S. attorney," Myers said. "If I were Blackwater's attorney, I would be concerned about whether this is a genuine purchase or a straw purchase."
Sheriff Perry said he did not consult a lawyer about the agreement until recently, when the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI inquired about the arrangement. Last year two former Blackwater employees pleaded guilty to federal firearms violations. They were sentenced to probation on the condition that they assist federal investigators.
Perry said his department was cooperating fully.
"We're not a target," Perry said. "We may be a victim in it." http://www.thephora.net/forum/archive/index.p...
#5 Dec 13, 2011
Sheriff Perry said he can't remember who came up with the idea for the weapons deal.
This guy sounds like Eric Holder on Fast & Furious – He Don’t Know Nothing
Fast & Furious was a DOJ operation, which Holder claims was regional to Phoenix, and was meant to track guns as they moved south of the border to members of the violent Mexican drug cartels after being bought by an alleged straw buyer. However, agents rarely pursued the weapons after they were bought.
Seventy-four percent of the guns sold during the Fast & Furious botched gun walking operation have not been recovered. Hundreds of guns have turned up at crime scenes.
The House Judiciary Committee met today to question Eric Holder about Fast & Furious and other matters. The Democrats described the meeting as an oversight hearing and praised Holder. The Republicans concentrated on grilling Holder about Fast & Furious. Solyndra and Pigford were briefly discussed.
Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner said about Fast & Furious,“Some heads should roll.”
“What are you going to do to clean up this mess?” Sensenbrenner asked.“The answers that we’ve been getting so far are that ‘Well, somebody else did it,’” he said.
Holder did say that gun walking is not acceptable practice, especially since his pronouncement against it this year. Throughout the questioning about the operation, Holder provided no specific answers.http://www.independent sentinel.com/2011/12/eric-hold er-on-fast-furious-he-dont-kno w-nothing/
#6 Sep 30, 2014
I wonder has the truth on this story ever been fully revealed. Has anyone got the inside scoop on Worthington?
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