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Judge denies bail to man found with suitcase full of weapons at LAX

Items found in Yongda Huang Harris luggage at LAX
Items found in Yongda Huang Harris luggage at LAX

A man who authorities found carrying a suitcase full of weapons at Los Angeles International Airport was denied bail Friday after prosecutors said that he was a flight risk and that evidence found on his computer showed a strong interest in sexual violence against girls.

U.S. Magistrate Paul Abrams denied a defense request that Yongda Huang Harris, 28, be released on bond on a charge of transporting hazardous materials.

Abrams issued his ruling after prosecutors said they found video evidence on Harris’ computer showing he has a strong interest in sexual violence against girls. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Mills said that he also had guides on how to hunt humans, how to make explosive devices, how to use date rape drugs, and a document describing Japanese school schedules of approximately two dozen self-described remote locations near schools.

Harris’ defense attorney Steven Seiden called the prosecutor’s testimony inflammatory and prejudicial toward his client.

“None of that is relevant to the charge,” he said

Seiden said the defense has not had the chance to review any of the evidence in this case.

The defense told the court Harris’ mother wanted him to be home in Boston to attend his step-father’s funeral. They said the mother was willing to put up an estimated $500,000 in California real estate for Harris’ bond. 

Prosecutors also argued that Harris is a flight risk and a danger to community. Prosecutors made the case that Harris had recently lived overseas, had plans to live overseas for the next three months, and had traveled extensively on his passport, so he would be able to support himself elsewhere in the world. Given that, they argued he could pose a flight risk.

In court, Seiden described his client as a “loner and shy” kid. He said Harris had been attacked in Boston, where he grew up, years ago. He added Harris has a clean background and denied he would be a flight risk.

“We’re not dealing with somebody who is running the streets,” Seiden told the judge.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Abrams said given Harris’ extensive travel combined with the allegations of evidence found on his computer, he believed Harris “has not been making good choices.” Abrams said he worried Harris doesn’t understand the consequences of what his actions could be if he chose to violate any bail agreement.

Harris came to court in a white jumpsuit and a blue medical mask. His attorney said that Harris had a throat infection.

Harris has a preliminary hearing on Oct. 23.

This story has been updated.