Three suspects arrested in East Bay illegal fireworks sting

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Officials arrested three suspects and seized a huge haul of illegal fireworks with an estimated street value of $80,000 on Thursday afternoon.

Law enforcement officials arrested three people and confiscated more than 2,500 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday afternoon in Pittsburg. 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.

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.

Dry fuel surround a lot of the homes in East Costa Contra County and that's part of the reason why authorities say it's so important to get illegal fireworks off the streets.

Fire investigators in Pittsburg unloaded boxes of illegal fireworks. The street value is estimated to be about $80,000 and many of the fireworks are commercial grade.

"What that means is you have to have a license to sell and use these so you may see some of these at an actual fireworks show," Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Inspector Lisa Martinez said.

The news of the bust was a relief to many Pittsburg residents who have seen more people bring illegal fireworks to the neighborhoods.

Last year, crews put out fire after fire as illegal fireworks exploded above them. The situation was especially bad in Pittsburg's Parkside neighborhood where one man was blinded in one eye after a fireworks accident.

"It didn't seem like it was lit. So when he went to go look, the thing went off and he fell on the ground," Pittsburg resident Ronnie Misquez said.

Despite the fires and injuries that inevitably come with illegal fireworks, many aren't too happy about efforts to crack down on them.

"I know they're trying to keep everybody safe and everything, but we're just trying to have a good time you know," Pittsburg resident Javier Vital said.

It's a perspective fire investigators are trying to change even if they have to do it one box at a time.
Related Topics:
fireworks4th of julycontra costa countycrimePittsburgAntioch
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