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L.A. port bomb threat turns out to be a hoax

The Associated Press

SAN PEDRO, Calif.- Authorities investigated Pier 300 at the Port of Los Angeles Monday morning after receiving an anonymous bomb threat, which was later determined to be a hoax.

According to Sgt. Bob Chacon of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor Station, the LAPD, Long Beach Police Department, Port Police, U.S. Coast Guard and port security worked together to carefully check the area.

Authorities concluded that no bomb had been planted, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. P.J. Jacquelin.

"We all come together at one unified command post and any information pertaining to this incident comes through that command post where everybody hears it all at the same time and any decisions that need to be made are made collectively," said Lt. Titus Smith of the Los Angeles Port Police.

Jacquelin said the caller made threats around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and spoke with a Middle Eastern accent. The caller said the bomb would explode in three hours and would target the American President Lines Container Terminal.

The search was called off about 3:30 a.m., he said.

Of the roughly 480 ships that arrive each month at Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, 50 to 60 are boarded and searched by Coast Guard maritime security teams before docking, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After ships arrive in port, about 6 percent of the containers they carry are selected to be scanned on the docks with X-ray machines and hand-held radiation detectors, officials told the newspaper. Then about 6 percent of those are selected to be unloaded for inspection at customs facilities.

"In Los Angeles and Long Beach, you only have five X-ray machines to screen millions of cargo containers that arrive every year. That is not enough," Noel K. Cunningham, a maritime security consultant who recently retired as chief of the Los Angeles harbor police, told The Times.

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