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Man Charged With Carrying Explosives

Government contract worker from Riverside was returning from Afghanistan when an airport search found Soviet military devices.

September 16, 2004|Seema Mehta | Times Staff Writer

A Riverside man working for a U.S. government contractor in Afghanistan was carrying Soviet military explosives on an airplane that landed in New York, authorities said.

Shaun Louis Marshall, 26, who is free on a $25,000 bond, has been charged with five counts of transporting explosives and ammunition on an airplane, according to an indictment filed by the U.S. attorney's office. He will be arraigned Friday in federal court in Brooklyn and, if convicted, could face 20 years in prison.

Attempts to reach Marshall were unsuccessful.

An acquaintance of Marshall's says the former military man was collecting souvenirs.

"While over there, he and some patrolmen were going through different houses and found some books on the Taliban and some unexploded antiaircraft ordnance," the acquaintance, Troy Lyman, said. "Being ex-military and as the military does overseas, they picked them up as souvenirs. He packed them in his bag and flew back with them, like an idiot."

Marshall was staying at the Riverside apartment of Lyman's former wife when he was arrested Aug. 22 by FBI agents.

Marshall was working overseas as a medic for DynCorp., which is owned by El Segundo-based Computer Sciences Corp., a government contractor that works on security, information technology and other ventures with the military.

Marshall planned to come to the United States for a week to pick up medical supplies. He flew from Afghanistan to the United Arab Emirates, then to John F. Kennedy International Airport in in New York.

Before Marshall boarded an Aug. 19 Los Angeles-bound flight at JFK, security agents randomly searching luggage found five military .50-caliber bullets, four military small-arms cartridges, one Soviet projectile-point detonating fuse, and one explosive Soviet full-round surface-to-air or air-to-air cartridge in Marshall's bag, according to an FBI complaint filed with federal court in New York.

Marshall was detained and questioned by Port Authority police. He told them the explosives were inert and that he was bringing them into the country for training purposes at DynCorp. The Port Authority confirmed his employment and released him but seized the explosives and ammunition, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The New York Police Department's bomb squad discovered that the munitions were highly explosive and called the FBI. Investigators also learned that Marshall did not work on training at DynCorp.

DynCorp. spokesman Mike Dickerson declined to comment on the case, but said, "All employees accepting such assignments are thoroughly briefed in advance and during their deployment regarding prohibitions against possessing or transporting hazardous or prohibited items."

Lyman and Marshall flew to New York for Marshall's preliminary hearing on Friday.

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