Airport security forces go on full alert when they spot a suspiciously shaped cigarette lighter in a carry-on bag. But U.S. Customs inspectors at the Port of Hueneme took a more casual approach when off an offloading freighter came an all-but-operational Scud missile, mounted atop its truck-like launch vehicle.
The 37-foot-long, five-ton green relic of the Czech army sat for a week before inspectors started to wonder just what the Bay Area man who bought it planned to do with it.
It turns out Jacques Littlefield, a 48-year-old portfolio manager, is a weapons collector with a collection of more than 100 war toys at his 470-acre Portola Valley ranch, including about 40 tanks and a one-eighth-scale train.
Customs Service officials, who are conducting a joint investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, don't doubt Littlefield's intentions. They had no complaint when he imported another Scud earlier this year--because that one had been "demilitarized" as the law requires, by removing its guidance system and cutting its rocket motor with a torch to destroy it.