Madera Police cracking down on illegal fireworks

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the past two weeks, the Madera Police Department has been holding an illegal fireworks operation to keep unsafe fireworks out of the hands of people in the community.

So far, the department has collected $5,000 worth of fireworks totaling more 500 pounds.

Sgt. Josiah Arnold is one of the officers behind the mission. He says they have been using sites like Craigslist and Facebook to track down sellers and buyers.

"All of these suspects said they knew it was illegal, many of them admitted to going out of state to pick up the fireworks," said Arnold.

One of the suspects is 47-year-old Juan Sandoval. According to police, he was out on parole for negligent discharge of a firearm when he was arrested for setting off aerial fireworks that started a house fire Sunday night.

Neighbor Jose Gonzalez watched the house go up in flames.

"After a few minutes, the flames hit the house, hit the roof," Gonzalez told Action News. "Seeing a house burn down is very, very intense."

Madera Police say if you have illegal fireworks and want to turn them in, you can drop them off, and they will not ask any questions. However, if you keep them and use them, you can face a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.
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