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Terror Suspect Admits Series of Bombings

November 10, 1987|KIM MURPHY | Times Staff Writer

A man identified as a member of an Armenian terrorist organization pleaded guilty Monday to helping engineer a series of bombings in 1981 and 1982, including an unsuccessful attack on the Swiss consulate in Los Angeles.

Vicken Tcharkhutian, 34, admitted in federal court that he built the weapons used in three of the bombings and helped plot an attack on an Air Canada warehouse at Los Angeles International Airport.

Tcharkhutian, a member of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, an international organization with links to several Middle East terrorist groups, said the Air Canada warehouse was selected to avenge the arrest of three members of the group in Canada in the early 1980s.

Tcharkhutian also admitted to a role in the bombings of the Swiss Bank Corp. in Los Angeles and a Carpeteria store in Hollywood, He said the Carpeteria store was attacked to pressure the owner into making a contribution to the terrorist organization.

Last to Be Prosecuted

Tcharkhutian is the last of four Armenians prosecuted in connection with the bombings. He was arrested last month at Los Angeles International Airport after several years as a fugitive.

"This represents the conviction of the last known Los Angeles member of the Los Angeles cell of the Armenian Secret Army," Assistant U.S. Atty. Terree Bowers said after Tcharkhutian entered the plea before U.S. District Judge David V. Kenyon.

Tcharkhutian's sentencing is set for Dec. 7. The former Hollywood resident and one-time senior designer for the Fluor Corp. faces a maximum of 35 years in prison on two counts of conspiracy, one count of attempting to damage a building used by a foreign government and one count of damaging a building used in foreign commerce.

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