A Boston man, flying from Japan en route to Boston was stopped at a layover in LAX by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after they discovered he had a smoke grenade, knives, body bags, a hatchet, a collapsible baton, a biohazard suit, a gas mask, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons, and a device to repel dogs in his checked bag, authorities said. Twenty-eight-year-old Yongda Huang Harris was initially stopped when TSA officers noticed he was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his jacket, and they later found out that he was also wearing flame-resistant pants. He has reportedly not been cooperating with law enforcement who are desperate to figure out why the man was carrying these items. As of now, Harris can only be charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, which has a maximum penalty of five years. Even more troubling, many of the items being carried weren’t illegal to transport. According to WaPo:
Find out more after the jump…
Many of the other items authorities say they found in Harris’s luggage — including the hatchet and knives — wouldn’t violate Transportation Security Administration guidelines for what is permissible in luggage that is checked. Also, bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants are not listed among items prohibited aboard flights.
However, customs officers Kenny Frick and Brandon Parker believed in their initial investigation that the lead-filled, leather-coated billy clubs and a collapsible baton may be prohibited by California law, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
Transportation authorities in Japan, who said they didn’t notice anything suspicious at the time of Harris’s boarding, said that arriving passengers are checked more thoroughly than those leaving. A practice that we should all be worried about.