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Man with bulletproof vest, body bags arrested at LA airport

(Reuters) - A man who flew into Los Angeles International Airport from Japan wearing a bulletproof vest and flame retardant clothing has been arrested after a smoke grenade, various weapons and body bags were found in his luggage, officials said on Tuesday.

Yongda Huang Harris, who was due in federal court on Tuesday to face a charge of transporting hazardous materials, was in transit en route for Boston when airport security officials stopped him on Friday after noticing his odd attire.

Customs and border patrol agents searched his checked bags and among other items found a gas mask, bio-hazard suits, body bags, three leather-coated billy clubs, knives, a hatchet and leg irons.

The single charge against Harris, 28, stems from the smoke grenade, an item that is prohibited on passenger aircraft, officials said. While Harris lives in Boston, officials said, he had recently been living and working in Japan.

They did not give any explanation as to how he boarded his plane in Japan without raising suspicions.

Harris faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted.

(Writing by Mary Slosson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and David Brunnstrom)