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Motorist arrested; Inglewood police say they found IED in his car

August 4, 2011 | 11:12 am

Ied A Los Angeles man is being held without bail after police found an improvised explosive device in his vehicle during a traffic stop, authorities said.

Leonardo Cejas Vargas, 27, was arrested about 10:20 p.m. Saturday during a traffic stop near Hardy Street and Eucalyptus Avenue in Inglewood, according to information released by the Inglewood Police Department,

Authorities found methamphetamine on Vargas and what at first appeared to be paraphernalia used to smoke the illegal substance, according to a statement by police spokesman Lt. James D. Madia. The item was “a glass tube with a bulb on the end,” Madia said.

When officers noticed that the device had a fuse protruding from an opening in the bulb, they alerted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's arson-explosives detail, Madia said. Investigators subsequently determined that the device contained pyrotechnic powder and was in fact an improvised explosive device.

According to authorities, the device was fully functional and contained around 15 to 20 times the amount of explosive substance than would be found in an M-80 firecracker. If detonated at close range, the apparatus would likely have “caused serious injury and could have been fatal,” Madia said.

Vargas was charged with possession of a destructive device with intent to injure and possession of dangerous drugs, according to Inglewood police officials. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

Image: Site where officers allegedly found an improvised explosive device in a car in Inglewood. Source: Google Maps

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