Officials Seize 500 Pounds of Illegal Fireworks in Orange County

An Orange County bomb squad packed up hundreds of M-80s, aerial displays and about 11,000 firecrackers, officials say

By Vikki Vargas and Christina Cocca
|  Saturday, Jun 21, 2014  |  Updated 2:51 PM PDT
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A man accused of selling fireworks to minors was arrested by police in Costa Mesa on Friday as the bomb squad seized about 500 pounds of fireworks originally purchased in Nevada. Vikki Vargas reports from Costa Mesa for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014.

Vikki Vargas/Jose Hernandez

A man accused of selling fireworks to minors was arrested by police in Costa Mesa on Friday as the bomb squad seized about 500 pounds of fireworks originally purchased in Nevada. Vikki Vargas reports from Costa Mesa for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014.

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Firefighters and a bomb squad hauled away about 500 pounds of illegal fireworks in Orange County on Friday after police found a trailer filled with the cache one night earlier.

Police received a call about "suspicious activity" Thursday night and found a man next to a truck and trailer filled with fireworks behind a Newport liquor store, officials said.

Video from the scene on Friday showed firefighters jumping back when one of the poppers went off inside a barrel of fireworks.

An Orange County bomb squad packed up hundreds of M-80s, aerial displays and about 11,000 firecrackers, according to the Costa Mesa Fire Department.

"We'll take each of these back to the lab, inspect them, cut them open and determine what's inside, and then we will know how to handle that, whether it's a firework or a dangerous illegal explosive," Kevin Nadeau of the Orange County Sheriff's Department bomb squad.

Officials said they were purchased legally in Nevada for about $2,000 and brought to California to be resold at five times their cost.

"These fireworks are unpredictable and unreliable," Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Tom Vasin said. "Meaning that, an individual may think that the fireworks are going to go up in the air and create a beautiful display where that may not be the case, where it can go sideways, it can land on a roof, start a fire."

Antonio Arrellano, 51, was arrested in connection with selling to minors, police said.

The bust comes just a day after police dismantled an illegal fireworks sales operation at a Pico Rivera business and hauled away 12 tons of the banned pyrotechnics.

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