Ahead of Independence Day, the NYPD announced that they have seized $54,000 worth of illegal fireworks off of the streets of New York City.
In the weeks leading up to July 4, the NYPD collaborated with the NYC Sherriff’s Office, the FDNY Fire Marshall and the NYC Fireworks Task Force, which is comprised of multiple agencies including the New York State Police, New Jersey State Police, and Port Authority Police to conduct these investigations and seizures. In June and July, investigators made 22 fireworks-related arrests (all of whom were men with the majority of whom were in their 20s and 30s, the NYPD notes) and seized six illegal firearms, with nearly half of arrested residing in Brooklyn and five of them having prior arrests.
“The NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau has been an integral part of a Task Force working with the Sheriff and Fire Marshals to develop information on major suppliers, interdict illegal fireworks as they come into New York City from out of state distributors, target locations where they are stored before sale — creating a hazard of fire and explosion — and the sellers who peddle illegal fireworks that result in multiple serious injuries to adults and too often children, every summer in New York City,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “These arrests and seizures to date demonstrate our focused, unrelenting commitment to that mission.”
The seizures took place over the course of three operations: Operation Roman Candle, Cyber Intelligence Unit Controlled Buy, and Field Intelligence Team Operations. The NYPD states that the operations represent an array of the department’s intelligence-based policing strategies that are at the core of the department’s public safety mission. Those arrested ranged from first time offenders to having significant prior arrests.
In Operation Roman Candle, NYPD investigators developed information on several individuals who were believed to be trafficking large amounts of illegal fireworks in the city. To date, the operation has resulted in 15 fireworks-related arrests — including arrests eight of the individuals stopped had been previously arrested for assault, one who had been convicted of assaulting a police officer and another arrested for attempted murder — and the confiscation of around $22,000 worth of illegal fireworks.
In the Cyber Intelligence Unit Controlled Buy, the NYPD conducted an investigation into the sale of illegal fireworks on Craigslist. Officers then identified and arrested a man within the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn and charged him with violating PL 270.00 for Unlawful Sale of Fireworks over $500. Following the arrest, officers uncovered and confiscated roughly $15,000 worth of fireworks.
In the Field Intelligence Team Operations, the Field Intelligence Teams at the precinct level used the tenets of the NYPD’s Neighborhood Policing philosophy to develop information on five different occasions. Using these community-based leads led to the teams executing search warrants that resulted in six fireworks-related arrests and seizures, and the confiscation of $7,800 worth of fireworks and six illegal firearms, along with other contraband.