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Cops Seize 2,500 Pounds Of Illegal Fireworks In Pittsburg; 3 Arrested In Undercover Craigslist Sting

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PITTSBURG (CBS SF) — 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.

The fireworks seized are used in professional fireworks shows and are illegal to use and possess without a permit, said fire officials.

Exploding near or in someone’s hand will kill them, I guarantee you.” said Vic Massenkoff of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “These are what the licensed, permitted pyrotechnicians who put on your city’s show, your community groups’ professional fireworks show that you go see.”

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.

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.

Last year, there were a number of fires in the East Bay attributed to illegal fireworks. “We couldn’t keep up with the activity, we were basically chasing fires,” said Massenkoff.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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