A Boston man in federal custody for allegedly carrying an assortment of weapons and other suspicious items in his checked baggage is refusing to cooperate with authorities, a law enforcement source said Wednesday.
Yongda Huang Harris, a 28-year-old who was detained at Los Angeles International Airport after he arrived on a flight from Japan, has not explained why he was wearing body armor and packed a smoke grenade, a hatchet, knives and billy clubs, a gas mask, a biohazard suit and body bags in his luggage, the source said.
But investigators had not found any evidence to suggest Harris had “any nexus to terrorism,” the source said.
Customs officers detained Harris after they noticed that he was wearing a bulletproof vest and flame retardant pants underneath his trenchcoat, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday in a statement. Federal agents later discovered the items inside his luggage.
The Los Angeles police conducted an X-ray examination of the smoke grenade, the statement said, which showed that it fell under the United Nations explosives shipping classification, meaning airline passengers are barred from bringing it on planes.
“Depending on the conditions when it is ignited, the smoke grenade, made by Commando Manufacturers, could potentially fill the cabin of a commercial airplane with smoke or cause a fire,” the statement said.
Officials said Harris had been living and working in Japan recently but makes his permanent home in Boston, where he was headed at the time of his arrest, the Globe reported today.
He has been charged federally with one count of transporting hazardous materials.Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.