When the freighter docked at its California port, off came a Russian-designed SS-1 Scud missile mounted atop its trucklike launch vehicle, bound for a private weapons collection.
"There was a big Scud missile rolling off a ship," U.S. Customs spokesman Pat Jones said Friday.But Customs officials at Port Hueneme, Calif., about 60 miles from downtown Los Angeles, recognized the ballistic missile had not been disabled, so the government seized it. The missile did not contain any fuel or warhead.
Its import paperwork, approved March 11, falsely indicated the missile's guidance system had been removed and that its rocket motor had been cut with a torch to destroy it.
The widely used Scud missile was designed by the Soviets during the 1960s to carry a conventional warhead up to 2,000 pounds about 186 miles.