Second man charged in dry ice explosions at Los Angeles airport

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 21, 2013 7:41 PM

By Dana Feldman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A second airport employee arrested in connection with three dry ice bombs planted at the Los Angeles International Airport was formally charged on Monday with possessing a destructive device near an airplane.

In announcing charges against 41-year-old Miguel Angel Iniguez, prosecutors said he was accused of making a device that exploded outside the airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal. He faces a maximum of six years in prison if convicted.

Authorities have identified Iniguez as a supervisor of 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett, a Servisair baggage handler who pleaded not guilty on Thursday to similar charges and was being held on $1 million bail. A lawyer for Iniguez could not immediately be reached for comment.

In an incident authorities said had no connection to terrorism, one of the bombs detonated 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.

The type of blast caused by dry ice is typically created by putting dry ice into a bottle or other container and sealing it tightly, which allows pressure to build until it explodes.

Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said last week that Bennett intended the ice bombs to be a prank, but added: "It's not a prank and it's going to be dealt with very seriously."

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Sean had said last week that police were investigating whether another person was involved in the incident, and Iniguez was arrested on Friday. He was scheduled for an arraignment on Tuesday morning.

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.

Bennett's lawyer, Ben Wasserman, has said the charges against his client were too severe, and Bennett had no intent to cause any destruction. He, too, could face up to six years in prison if convicted.

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 Lisa Shumaker)