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In efforts to impact the illegal possession, sales, and usage of fireworks, the City of Long Beach launched an education and prevention campaign to raise awareness that ALL fireworks, including those classified as “Safe and Sane” are illegal in the City of Long Beach.
In response to community concerns, firework enforcement has become a top priority for the City, City Council, and the Police and Fire Departments. At a joint LBPD and LBFD news conference held today, Mayor Robert Garcia spoke about the City’s efforts to impact illegal possession, sales, and usage of fireworks in the City of Long Beach.
Illegal fireworks enforcement is very challenging for law enforcement, as violations cannot be enforced if they are not witnessed by an officer. To address the community concerns, new enforcement strategies were implemented, and the LBPD changed its tactics, shifting its focus from not only the users, but to the suppliers.
In the last week and a half, the LBPD conducted several investigations throughout the City, relating to the illegal possession and sales of fireworks. These investigations resulted in numerous arrests and citations being issued, the confiscation of several thousand pounds of high-powered fireworks, and the seizure of over $45,000 in U.S. currency, two loaded handguns, ammunition, and significant quantities of what is believed to be marijuana, cocaine, heroin and PCP.
In the most recent investigation, which occurred last night, Monday, June 26, 2017, at approx. 7:50 p.m., officers from the North Division Directed Enforcement Team responded to a residence in the 1800 block of East 57th Street regarding a report of fireworks being sold from the location. Officers obtained and served a search warrant, and confiscated over 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, with an approximate street value of $30,000, that were being sold from a makeshift storefront set-up in the garage. U.S. currency and PCP was also seized during the investigation. Four minors, ages 5, 8, 10 & 17, were also found in the home and were turned over to the Department of Children & Family Services. Due to the large quantity of high-powered fireworks at the scene, LBFD responded to take control of them.
Three individuals were taken into custody and are all being held at the Long Beach City Jail. They have been identified as follows:
NAME: GENDER: AGE: RESIDENCE: CHARGES: BAIL:
Darius Bo Male 24 Long Beach Poss of dangerous fireworks $20,000
Sreypeur Say Female 29 Long Beach Poss of dangerous fireworks $20,000
Armand Moore Male 36 Los Angeles Poss for sales of PCP $30,000
Through investigations, it has been learned that suspects arrested for fireworks violations are often times gang members. Both male suspects arrested in the 6/26/17 incident were documented gang members. Stated Police Chief Robert Luna, “The community needs to understand that when they purchase fireworks from unauthorized sources such as this, they are essentially putting money in to the pockets of street gangs and supporting their illicit activities.”
The City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Police and Fire Departments want to remind the community that not only is the purchase and use of fireworks in the City of Long Beach illegal and irresponsible, it is dangerous. On the 4th of July last year, a 17-year-old young man lost part of his hand after an incident involving the use of illegal fireworks.
The multi-faceted approach involving all City departments to address the fireworks related issues and concerns will continue in hopes of preventing tragic incidents such as this in the future. Fire Deputy Chief Richard Brandt stated, “We’ll continue to do our part as public safety agencies, and it's not just Police and Fire, it's Public Works, libraries, it's all our City department's working together to make this a safe city."
All residents and visitors celebrating the 4th of July are encouraged to celebrate the holiday in a safe and responsible manner. Violators will be cited and/or arrested and may face a $1,000 fine, sentenced to jail for six months, or both. The fines and penalties may increase depending on the fireworks’ classification.
Fireworks may be voluntarily disposed of at collection bins located at all fire stations, Lifeguard Headquarters from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (2100 E. Ocean Boulevard, on the West side of the Junipero lot), or any police station.
If you or your neighbor would like flyers, posters, or yard signs to post in your home/neighborhood you can pick them up at Fire Headquarters (3205 Lakewood Blvd.) starting June 12, 2017 to July 3, 2017 from 7:30am-4:30pm or at the Neighborhood Resource Center (100 W. Broadway, Suite 550) starting June 12, 2017 to July 3, 2017 from 8:00am-5:00pm. You can also call and reserve them from the Neighborhood Resource Center at (562) 570-1010.
If anyone is aware of someone selling fireworks, or see someone using them, they are urged to call Police Communications at (562) 435-6711 or 9-1-1. Those wishing to report anonymously can submit tips through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the “P3 Tips” app to your smart phone (available at the Apple App store and Google Play), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.