02/19/2002

Man Arrested at Los Angeles Airport with Inactive Explosive Device

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An Army National Guardsman was arrested after trying to pass a nonfunctioning military explosive through security at Los Angeles International Airport, police said.

A screener became concerned after noticing the device, which resembled an M-80 firecracker, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Greg Glodery.

Authorities said they do not believe it was terrorist-related.

Jacques Baker, 32, of Guam, was taken into custody for carrying an explosive device aboard an aircraft, said FBI spokesman Matthew McLaughlin. Baker was expected to be charged Tuesday in federal court.

It was unclear whether Baker was on active duty or on leave from the National Guard.

McLaughlin identified the device as a seal bomb, typically used by fishermen to scare away seals from prime fishing areas.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said the device was found in the man's carryon luggage.

Baker had flown alone from Honolulu to Los Angeles and was bound for Sacramento when the device was found at about 6:10 a.m.

No evacuations were ordered at Terminal 6, where the item was discovered, Glodery said. The terminal serves Continental Airlines and portions of United Airlines fleet.

The screening station where the item was noticed in an X-ray machine was temporarily shut down, Glodery said. No flights were delayed, officials said.

In an unrelated incident at New York's La Guardia Airport, a flight that had left for Cleveland was forced to return after it was discovered a passenger was not properly screened. A concourse was evacuated and everyone was screened again.

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