Company sold faulty grenades to agencies

The Associated Press

Macon, Ga. — Federal authorities announced on Monday that a Georgia-based munitions manufacturer is accused of selling faulty grenades to the FBI.

David J. Karlson, chief executive officer of Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc., three employees and the company are named in the federal indictment. They are charged with conspiracy, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government.

The charges were announced at the U.S. Attorney's Office's Middle District of Georgia in Macon. Karlson, F. Brad Swann, Daniel Ramone and Glenn D. Cundiff were scheduled for their first hearing Monday afternoon.

No trial date has been set.

According to the indictment, the company, based in Byron, Ga., contracted with the Department of Defense between 1996 and 2007 to manufacture diversionary grenades, also known as "flash bang" or "stun grenades." The device, known as the MK141, creates a bright flash and a loud, non-lethal blast that interferes with the enemy's sensory perception.

The MK141 was developed by the Navy for use by members of the Special Forces Operations, the Marine Corps and the Army. A different model was developed for use by civilian law enforcement agencies.

The Navy contracts for the MK141 were valued at $15 million.

Four years ago, federal officials said a design flaw was discovered in the Navy design of the grenade, and the Department of Defense issued a stop-work order a year later so the flaw could be corrected.

But according to the indictment, Pyrotechnic Specialties relabeled the devices for resale and claimed that they met military standards. The FBI received about 41 shipments of the faulty grenades between 2000 and 2005, at a cost of more than $500,000.

Three FBI agents were seriously injured on Oct. 14, 2004, in the Philadelphia area when a defective grenade prematurely detonated in the tactical vest pocket of a SWAT team agent, the indictment says.

Federal officials say that the company is no longer manufacturing the grenades and it is unlikely that any of the defective grenades were shipped to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Associated PressCopyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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