The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly investigating prominent Donald Trump supporter Erik Prince for violating arms trafficking laws.
“Prince, an heir to a billion-dollar fortune who is widely viewed as a shadow adviser to the president, is under federal investigation for his 2015 attempt to modify two American-made crop-dusting planes into attack aircraft — a violation of arms trafficking regulations,” The Intercept reported Thursday, citing “two people familiar with the investigation.”
“The planes became part of private military services Prince proposed to sell or use in mercenary operations in Africa and Azerbaijan, as The Intercept has previously reported,” the publication noted.
Prince is the brother Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“The investigation into the modified crop dusters is one of several ongoing probes targeting Prince,” The Intercept noted. “Another focuses on the allegations that he lied to Congress during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 presidential election interference; a third concerns a 2017 armed aviation proposal to the UAE, according to The Wall Street Journal.”
Prince was the founder of Blackwater, the notorious private security contractor.
“It is unclear why the FBI took more than three years to investigate Prince for the modification of two crop dusters. Prince has long sought to convert the single-engine agricultural aircraft into light attack planes, which he believes can revolutionize how small wars are fought,” The Intercept reported. “The two planes, manufactured by Thrush Aircraft in Albany, Georgia, were the first prototypes Prince built in an effort to create a low-cost air force for his vision of privatized warfare.”
— Matthew Cole (@matthewacole) February 20, 2020