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Judge lowers bail in Los Angeles airport dry ice bombs case

By Dana Feldman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two airport workers accused of planting dry ice bombs at the Los Angeles International Airport had their bail reduced on Wednesday by a judge who nevertheless lectured them on the irresponsibility of such actions.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz lowered bail for 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett from $1 million to $300,000. In a separate hearing, Schwartz also cut 41-year-old Miguel Angel Iniguez' bail from $500,000 to $100,000.

The two men, both employees of airport contractor Servisair, are accused of planting three dry ice bombs at the airport in an incident that authorities said had no connection to terrorism. Bennett has told police the bombs were intended as pranks.

One of the bombs detonated on October 13 in an employee restroom and the second exploded outside the international terminal a day later, causing some flight disruptions. A third device was found unexploded. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The type of blast caused by dry ice is typically created by putting it into a bottle or other container and sealing it tightly, which allows pressure to build until it explodes. Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide and is used for cooling.

Outside court, Bennett's defense lawyer, Ben Wasserman, said he doubted his client would be able to post bond in the case but that he was working to get the charges, which carry a mandatory two years in state prison, reduced.

"We're going in that direction," he said.

An attorney for Iniguez said he hoped his client would be able to post bond and that being in custody presented a hardship for him because he was the recipient of a kidney transplant several years ago and required medication.

Bennett is suspected of having obtained the dry ice via his job at the airport, prompting officials there to announce that they would change policies regarding handling of the materials.

In May, a similar device went off at Disneyland, forcing evacuation of a section of the park in Anaheim, California

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Cynthia Osterman)

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