ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ Two people convicted of helping a Virginia firm supply the Salvadoran army with defective ammunition were given suspended sentences by a federal judge Friday.
U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton rejected prosecutors request to require restitution from and impose substantial prison sentences on Darlene R. Straiton, 40, and John P. Fodor, 50.
He gave Ms. Straiton, former vice president of the defunct Nordac Manufacturing Corp. of Fredricksburg, a three-year suspended sentence and placed her on probation.
Fodor, 50, an American who ran a dry goods store in San Salvador and represented Nordac in San Salvador, was given a one-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.
Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy and had faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Prosecutors say the 18 million rounds of defective ammunition, purchased cheaply in Yugoslavia in 1983 and resold to El Salvador under a $4.8 million U.S. military aid contract, involved more than $235,000 in bribes to Salvadoran military officers.
″It is a fair inference that some (Salvadoran soldiers) died or were wounded″ because the defective ammunition caused their M16 rifles to jam, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Greenberg.
Drew Carroll, an attorney for Ms. Straiton, told the judge Friday that his client denied knowledge of any bribes and did not know the ammunition was defective.
Ms. Straiton’s former husband, John P. Straiton IV, former president of Nordac, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July and is scheduled for sentencing next Friday.