Feds use sabotage statute to prosecute munitions workers

Former employees of an Independence, Mo., munitions plant have been charged under a federal statute with sabotage for allegedly stealing tons of copper that was to have been forged into bullets for U.S. soldiers.

The copper — described as “bullet cups” in the indictment — eventually was sold to a Moberly, Mo., salvage company for $45,362.

Prosecutors acknowledged that charging the men under the sabotage statute was unusual, but said it was warranted in this case because the men interfered with the war effort during a time of national emergency, which President Bush announced on Sept. 14, 2001, just after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

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