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Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach police seize illegal fireworks and make arrests ahead of Fourth of July

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Costa Mesa police said they have seized more than 4,500 pounds of illegal fireworks leading up to the Fourth of July.
(Courtesy of Costa Mesa Police Department)

With Independence Day just around the corner, local law enforcement agencies have been observing another time-honored tradition: keeping an eye out for illegal fireworks.

Over the past three weeks, Costa Mesa police have seized more than 4,500 pounds of illicit incendiaries valued at about $25,000 and made 14 arrests, authorities said.

“This might not solve the problem of a loud night that upsets pets and possibly veterans and senior citizens, but let’s see if it makes a difference,” the Police Department wrote on its Facebook page. “Let’s celebrate Independence Day with the right fireworks.”

Costa Mesa is one of 10 Orange County cities that allow the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks — generally those that don’t leave the ground or explode in the air.

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Permitted pyrotechnics went on sale Sunday and can be purchased through the holiday Thursday. They can be lit from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Another city that allows “safe and sane” sales is Huntington Beach. Police there said last week that they bought more than 200 pounds of illegal fireworks as part of an undercover investigation and turned over the haul to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad.

All told, Huntington Beach has collected 1,020 pounds of fireworks from operations conducted through June and into July, according to police spokeswoman Angela Bennett. Arrests have been made, though specifics weren’t available earlier this week.

Legal fireworks can be purchased at stands throughout Surf City from noon to 10 p.m. through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. They can be used only from noon to 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

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As of early this week, police in Newport Beach had not made any fireworks seizures, according to a department spokeswoman. It is illegal to possess or use personal fireworks in Newport.

The fireworks front also was quiet in Laguna Beach and Fountain Valley, police said. Personal fireworks also are prohibited in those cities.

It is a misdemeanor under state law to possess, store, use or transport illegal fireworks, and doing so is punishable by a $1,000 fine and jail time.

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