SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --In an exclusive ride-along, Santa Ana police officers continued to conduct an undercover operation to find and confiscate illegal fireworks in the city.
Officers first pulled over a vehicle, and the driver sped off after he saw an officer approach him on foot. The man was supposed to meet someone who found him on Craigslist to sell his illegal fireworks. The buyer in this case was an undercover officer.
"Often, we don't know what they're made of. They're dangerous, they start fires. They injure people. Every year we have problems with them," said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
The operation began nearly three weeks ago in preparation for the Fourth of July holiday.
The officer went with the man back to his house, where they confiscated hundreds of pounds of illegal fireworks from Las Vegas.
"The operations, like the one you're on today, we've got approximately 3,500 pounds of illegal fireworks," said Bertagna.
The team made another bust. The seller had asked for $380, but instead of taking home the cash, he must now pay a $1,000 fine.
The city council voted this year to increase the citation from $100.
"We've been doing an education program in partnership with our schools, partnership with the Orange County Fire Authority and our city," said Bertagna.
The team would then take the fireworks to the county bomb squad for disposal, and said they plan to continue the operation through the holiday.
"Send a message that while we accept safe and sane fireworks, we don't tolerate illegal fireworks," said Bertagna.
Police stressed the public can purchase fireworks from a safe stand and encouraged all to use them safely.