3 Arrested in Illegal Fireworks Sting in Pittsburg

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Law enforcement officials arrested three people and confiscated more than 2,500 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday afternoon in Pittsburg, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman said. Derek Shore reports. (Published Friday, Jun 27, 2014)

    Law enforcement officials arrested three people and confiscated more than 2,500 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday afternoon in Pittsburg, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman said.

    Jose Francisco Hernandez, 22, of Richmond; Ivan Medina, 26, of Oakley; and Luis Amado Medina, 30, of Indiana, were arrested on suspicion on advertising and sale of fireworks without a license, transporting fireworks without registration, storing fireworks without a permit, possession of more than 100 pounds of dangerous fireworks and possession of dangerous fireworks
    without a permit.

    Capt. Robert Marshall said Contra Costa fire investigators and Pittsburg police conducted an undercover sting after investigators saw an advertisement for fireworks for sale on Craigslist.

    Marshall said investigators conducted an undercover buy that led to the arrests.

    The value of the confiscated fireworks is still being determined, but Marshall said it will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    "We were surprised by the amount of fireworks that this was," Marshall said.

    Marshall said the sale of illegal fireworks is common, especially so close to the July 4 holiday.

    "We're really concerned, particularly with the current drought we are in," he said, adding the fire danger this year is more than officials have seen in quite some time.

    With arrests made and more than a ton of illegal fireworks seized, Marshall sees the undercover operation helping in efforts to prevent fires during the Fourth of July weekend.

    "We're hoping that we put a dent into it," he said. "We're hoping that we averted a disaster in somebody's neighborhood."

    Meanwhile, some Bay Area residents plan to avoid all fireworks, even those deemed safe.

    "There's still a risk," said Rodney Washington, who is concerned about fire danger. "I mean anything that is going to pop or spark, or anything of that nature, it's not good."