October 10, 2012 in Nation/World

Bulletproof vest leads to airport arrest

Associated Press
 

LOS ANGELES – A man dressed in a bulletproof vest and fire-resistant pants was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after a smoke grenade, gas mask, leg irons and weapons were discovered in his luggage, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Boston-bound Yongda Huang Harris, 28, was arrested Friday on suspicion of transporting hazardous materials on a flight from Japan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Harris was not cooperating with federal officials attempting to interview him, according to a U.S. official. The official said Harris is not believed to be linked to a terrorist organization, but his motive has not been determined.

Harris is a U.S. citizen whose permanent residence is in Boston, and he recently started living and working in Japan, officials said.

Harris has been charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Harris drew suspicion when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport noticed he was wearing the bulletproof vest and fire-resistant pants under his trench coat.

A search of Harris’ checked luggage uncovered numerous suspicious items, including knives, body bags, a hatchet, a collapsible baton, a biohazard suit, a full-face respirator, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs, authorities said.

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