Santa Ana police seize illegal fireworks in undercover operation

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Santa Ana police officers seized more than 3,000 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday as part of an ongoing undercover operation.

Santa Ana police officers seized more than 3,000 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday as part of an ongoing undercover operation.

"We have children that are getting hurt, we have buildings that are catching on fire, trees, [illegal fireworks] are not safe," said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Eyewitness News rode along as undercover officers set up meetings with sellers they found on Craigslist. One man hoped to sell $400 worth of fireworks.

"We work with the Orange County sheriff's bomb squad. They'll go directly to them and then they destroy them," Bertagna said.

Possessing, transporting or selling illegal fireworks is considered a felony in California. On Thursday, if the sellers cooperated with officers and gave up their entire supply, they were charged with a misdemeanor and issued a citation.

One man said he bought fireworks in Las Vegas and was trying to make extra money.

"He cooperated, he gets a citation, we take the stuff and he goes back on with his life," Bertagna said.

With the Fourth of July just over a week away, officers have spent the last month confiscating more than 2,000 pounds of illegal fireworks. They say they want people to celebrate the holiday, just in a safe and responsible way.

"We want people to have a good time, use the 'safe and sane' fireworks, don't use the illegal ones, there's too many things that can go wrong," Bertagna said.

The Santa Ana Police Department wants to remind the community that possession and use of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor crime, and violators may be subject to $1,000 fines and up to one year in jail.

The public was asked to report illegal fireworks use anonymously by calling (714) 245-8771.

Related Topics:
fireworksundercoverSanta AnaOrange County
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