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February 20, 2002
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Guardsman Charged with Trying to Bring Explosive on Airplane

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An Army National Guardsman was charged Tuesday with attempting to carry an explosive or incendiary device onto an aircraft.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Hillman ordered Jacques Parker Baker, 32, of Guam, held without bail until a bond hearing Thursday. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 5, with arraignment on March 11. He could face as much as 10 years in prison if convicted.

Baker allegedly tried to pass a Los Angeles International Airport security checkpoint on Monday with a "seal bomb" in his carry-on bag. The bomb, said to be about as powerful as a large firecracker, is used to scare seals away from commercial fishing areas.

A security screener noticed the bomb as it passed through an X-ray machine on the second floor of Terminal 6, which processes flights for Continental and National airlines.

No evacuations were ordered and no flights were delayed, although the screening station was shut down while a bomb squad investigated.

Airport police said it was determined the bomb would not have detonated.

Baker had flown to Los Angeles earlier Monday from Honolulu and was bound for Sacramento.

The incident occurred one day after the new Transportation Security Administration took over responsibility for airline security, the first step toward a system where better-trained, higher-paid federal employees screen passengers and bags.

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