3 arrested for trying to sell 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Police arrested three people for allegedly trying to sell 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in a makeshift storefront out of a garage.

Long Beach officials confiscated the explosives Monday night and arrested two men and a woman. They said the male suspects were known gang members. An anonymous tip led to the bust.

"When they purchased these type of fireworks behind me from unauthorized sources, they are essentially putting money in the pockets of street gangs, supporting their illicit activities," said Chief Robert Luna.

Authorities have been pleading for public help in cracking down on illegal fireworks. Enforcement can be difficult because investigators must see the explosives being used in order to issue a citation.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to illegal fireworks," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia at a press conference announcing the arrests.

A 17-year-old had his hand partially amputated last year after using the exact same kind of illegal fireworks confiscated last night. Police want to prevent similar tragedies from happening.

Officials are now turning their focus on suppliers, who often bring the fireworks from other states or China. Long Beach authorities said the possession and shooting of illegal fireworks could result in a $1000 fine and/or six months in jail.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.