San Mateo County authorities seized roughly 15,000 pounds of illegal fireworks and about $1 million in cash while investigating a "major distribution line of illegal fireworks," officials said.
San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Crime Suppression Unit detectives made the bust this week while serving search warrants in San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara counties, according to the sheriff's office.
Two suspects – 61-year-old Sam San of San Francisco and 54-year-old Jennifer Nguyen of San Jose – were arrested, according to the sheriff's office. San was booked into San Mateo County Jail. Charges against Nguyen were in the process of being filed.
Back in May, San Mateo County detectives started to look into the case. They eventually identified San and Nguyen as suspects and linked them to fireworks sales in San Mateo County.
Detectives, using surveillance, identified two residences and a warehouse that were connected to the operation, the sheriff's office said.
"There have been numerous complaints about the use of illegal fireworks this year and the Sheriff’s Office is working on ways to deter the sales and use of them in our communities," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Through criminal investigations and promoting community awareness, the Sheriff’s Office is hoping for a safe Fourth of July holiday where the fireworks are left to the professionals."
In San Mateo County, all fireworks are illegal in unincorporated areas and in cities and towns that have a contract with the sheriff's office. Violators can face fines up to $1,000.
People should call 650-363-4911, not 911, to report illegal fireworks.