As the Fourth of July approaches, Santa Ana Police (SAPS) is increasing its illegal firearms enforcement.
“It’s a problem for us every year … beginning of June until the holidays,” said Santa Ana’s police chief. Anthony Bertagna told The Epoch Times. ‘The city sells legal fireworks that you can use; it is the illegal fireworks that are the problem. ”
Bertagna said police had already made several busts by Independence Day.
During a probationary period of June 11 at a documented home of the gang member, SAPS seized illegal fireworks, drugs, US currency and three handguns – including a .45 caliber ghost rifle. Earlier in the day, police seized 2,673 mortars, 1,144 large air rockets and 1,750 illegal fireworks from the air. The bust resulted in six quotes and a $ 1,000 fine.
On June 9, SAPS seized approximately 16,000 firefighters, 874 mortars and 760 illegal fireworks from the air.
And on June 8, detectives searched an apartment of an active gang member with a warrant for the suspicion of firearms, which recovered 320 pieces of illegal fireworks. Also seized were four AR rifles, one 9mm semi-automatic pistol, drugs, weapons manufacturing tools, several extensive magazines and US currency.
Bertagna said many illegal fireworks were moving away from Arizona and Nevada.
“They bring them in and sell them to make money,” Bertagna said.
The danger is when people abuse the illegal fireworks, as it poses a greater danger if used improperly.
“Every year we have multiple injuries, and we get fires, and they use it to shoot at the police,” Bertagna said. “There are already many people who lose fingers, hands, eye injuries and burns – we get a lot of injuries.”
Legal fireworks stalls will appear in Santa Ana about a week before the holiday.
There will be additional SAPS units working closely with the Orange County Fire Authority during the long weekend of July 4th.
“We want people to have a safe and healthy Fourth of July,” Bertagna said. “Our goal is that people do not get hurt and that there are no fires.”
SAPS has a tip line this year and asks residents to report the use of illegal fireworks at (714) 245-8771 or by email to [email protected]