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15 Jan, 2020 20:00

3 people detained after live mortar round found in car at Pearl Harbor base gates

3 people detained after live mortar round found in car at Pearl Harbor base gates

Three men have been arrested attempting to bring a live mortar round into the US’ Pearl Harbor military base in their vehicle, according to military officials. The incident shut down the base for hours.

It’s not clear why the group had the explosive device, which authorities said did not have a firing device attached but could be modified and triggered by something other than the usual mortar tube. A spokesman for the Hawaii base, Charles Anthony, called the device a “deadly weapon.”

The trio, all civilians without authorized access to the base, were stopped on their way into the sprawling facility by security on Tuesday night after a guard smelled marijuana, leading him to look closer at the inside of the vehicle and spot the “potential ordnance,” Anthony said. The base was shut down for approximately two hours while a bomb squad investigated and reopened with no injuries.

The three men were arrested, but the spokesman did not say whether any of them faced charges.

“I just know the three occupants were taken into custody by [the Naval Criminal Investigative Service] for questioning,” Anthony told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday. “I don’t know where they are yet at this point. I only know that overnight they were still being questioned by NCIS.”

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The incident comes just a month after a US sailor went on a shooting rampage inside the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, killing two civilian workers and injuring one more before shooting himself.

It is not uncommon for unauthorized individuals to end up at the Pearl Harbor gate, the base spokesman said, adding that “hundreds” of people, most of them lost, are turned away without proper identification on a daily basis.

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