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Two Ex-Blackwater Guards Charged with Murder 1 Week After Judge Dismissed Charges Against 5 Others

blackwaterlogo2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A week after a judge dismissed murder-related charges against 5 Blackwater guards who worked in Iraq, the Justice Department came back with murder charges against two former Blackwater guards who were detailed to Afghanistan.

The U.S. Attorney in Alexandria filed second-degree murder and attempted murder charges on Thursday against Justin Cannon, 27, of Corpus Christi, Tex. and Christopher Drotleff, 29, of Virginia Beach, Va. in connection with shootings that resulted in the death of two people and the wounding of a third.

Authorities say the two men were contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan and employed by Paravant LLC, a subsidiary of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide. The two were charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).

The 13-count indictment alleges that on May 5, 2009, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Cannon and Drotleff shot and killed two Afghanistan nationals and wounded a third.

The FBI arrested Cannon Thursday in Corpus Christi and Drotleff in Virginia Beach.

Last week, a D.C. judge dismissed charges against 5  Blackwater guards in connection with the deaths of  14 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The judge ruled that the Justice Department overstepped its bounds by using statements the men made to the State Department even though the men were told the statements could not be used against them in court.

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