Second suspect arrested in Los Angeles airport dry ice explosions

Posted at 8:08 AM, Oct 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-19 08:08:18-04

(CNN) — Police on Friday arrested a second contractor employee in recent dry ice explosions at Los Angeles International Airport.

Miguel Angel Iniguez, 41, was a supervisor for 28-year-old baggage handler Dicarlo Bennett, who pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of possession of a destructive device in a public place, a Los Angeles Police Department statement said.

The statement said Iniguez,of Inglewood, is accused of possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. He was being held on $500,000 bail.

On Sunday, dry ice in a plastic bottle exploded in an employee restroom, causing a brief shutdown of Terminal 2, the FBI said. No injuries were reported, and the terminal resumed operations after a brief evacuation.

The other incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, airport police said. Three plastic bottles containing dry ice were found, but only one had exploded, police said.

The explosions didn’t cause any injuries.

Both Iniguez and Bennett worked for Servisair, a leading global provider of aviation ground services.

Bennett continues to be held on $1 million bail, but a bail review hearing will be held October 23. The court entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf.

Bennett’s defense attorney Ben Wasserman told reporters after the arraignment that Bennett was removing dry ice from a plane’s holding area because he was told the vapors were dangerous to an animal being transported in the cargo hold.

“His intent in taking the dry ice from the hold was not the intent to make a destructive device,” Wasserman said. “One of the other crew members said take the dry ice out or do something with the dry ice because the carbon dioxide is harmful to the animal, so he took the dry ice out.”

Bennett allegedly thought the explosive devices were “a game” and “a funny kind of joke,” and he had no intent to attack people, police said.

Dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in solid form, is used as a refrigerant for meats and ice cream, especially when shipped in a box. When dry ice becomes warm, it transforms into vapor.

CNN’s Michael Martinez and Traci Tamura contributed to this report.

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