Crime - Sacto 911

Tip, open garage door lead task force to $10,000 stash of illegal fireworks

How to be safe with fireworks this year

State officials are cracking down on on illegal fireworks, and even the legal ones are banned in some area cities and counties. Legal fireworks go on sale on Wednesday, July 28.
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State officials are cracking down on on illegal fireworks, and even the legal ones are banned in some area cities and counties. Legal fireworks go on sale on Wednesday, July 28.

A huge haul of illegal fireworks was seized from a northeast Stockton home Sunday afternoon and one man was arrested on a felony charge, police reported.

A new public safety task force charged with clamping down on illegal fireworks got a tip about the cache in the garage of a home in the 3100 block of Trident Street, located in a residential neighborhood of single-family homes just east of the intersection of Holman Road and East March Lane.

When members of the task force – including police, bomb squad officers and firefighters – drove by the home Sunday afternoon, they couldn’t believe their luck. The garage door was open and the illegal fireworks were plainly visible from the street.

“This is the first big one of the season,” Police Department spokesman Joe Silva said, adding that the amount of illegal items is the largest stash seized in Stockton in recent memory.

Dozens of sealed and opened boxes revealed an estimated 300 to 400 pounds of rockets and other fireworks illegal to possess, distribute or use in California primarily because they fly up into the air and are not labeled with the seal of the state fire marshal.

Silva estimated the value at $10,000.

Police arrested William Yanez, 37, of Stockton on suspicion of unlawful possession of illegal fireworks, a felony.

“He was planning on selling them,” Silva said. He was unable to state if Yanez had already sold some illegal fireworks in Stockton.

The fireworks, many still sealed in cardboard boxes marked “Made in China,” were believed to have been purchased in another state where they are legal and brought into California.

Only “safe and sane” fireworks are legal within the city limits of Stockton. No fireworks of any kind are legal in unincorporated areas of the county or county pockets of Stockton, according to officials.

Task force patrols are actively focusing on illegal fireworks hot spots in order to crack down on widespread use that in years past has generated hundreds of complaints to law enforcement.

“We are very appreciative of the person who provided this tip,” Silva said. “We encourage anyone with information about illegal fireworks to call in and report what they’ve seen.”

Call the Stockton Police Department at (209) 937-8377. Cellphone users can text information to 274637 (CRIMES) by entering the keyword “TIPSPD” followed by their tip. Internet users can visit the Police Department’s Facebook page and click “Submit a Tip.”

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