Boston man arrested at Los Angeles airport in body armor, grenade and weapons


Boston man, Yongda Huang Harris, 28, was on his way from Japan to Boston when customs agents stopped him last Friday.


Kevork Djansezian

A man preparing to board a plane to Boston was arrested wearing body armor, flame retardant leggings and knee pads under his trench coat at Los Angeles International Airport.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, Yongda Huang Harris, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was flying from Japan via LAX to his home in Boston on Friday, ABC News reported.

When a Customs and Border Protection officer noticed his unusual clothing, he questioned Harris, and then ordered a search of his checked luggage, which revealed a smoke grenade and several weapons.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad X-rayed the smoke grenade and determined that it was a prohibited device because it could fill the cabin of an airplane with smoke or cause a fire, media reports said.

Harris initially told the officer he had only a knife in his luggage. 

The Los Angeles Times reported authorities found body bags, biohazard suits, a pyrotechnic smoke grenade, three leather-coated billy clubs, a collapsible baton, a full-face respirator, various knives, a hatchet, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs.

Fox News Boston said an official said it was not believed Harris was linked to a terrorist organization, but his motive has not been determined.

Authorities say they are working with investigators in Japan, where Harris has been living, to learn more about why he would bring such an alarming assortment of implements on board an international flight. LAPD and FBI are assisting in the investigation.

Harris was charged with a Federal offence of transporting hazardous materials, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. He is due to appear in court on Friday.