A California man was arrested after illegal homemade fireworks were found in his home, seized, and later exploded in his neighborhood, the DOJ said.
Arturo Ceja was charged with transporting explosives without a license.
Seventeen people, including law enforcement officers, were injured, CBSLA reported.
A California man was arrested and charged after illegal fireworks found by authorities on his property exploded in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, leaving 17 people, including law enforcement officers, injured last week.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles police officers arrived at Arturo Ceja's home after getting a tip about him storing the fireworks in his backyard, according to the Department of Justice. Local authorities discovered 500 boxes of commercial-grade fireworks, which they initially estimated at 5,000 pounds.
Authorities from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireworks, and Explosives later concluded that Ceja had more than approximately over 30,000 pounds of fireworks in his yard, according to the DOJ. In addition, authorities found more than 140 homemade fireworks in his home.
After the devices were seized from Ceja's residence, the local bomb squad attempted to detonate the homemade fireworks after they deemed it was "not safe to transport due to risk of detonation in a densely populated area and therefore would be destroyed on scene using a total containment vessel," the DOJ said, adding that "during the destruction of the devices, the entire TCV exploded, causing a massive blast radius, damaging homes in the neighborhood."
The explosion also resulted in multiple injuries, according to CBS Los Angeles. A video posted by the outlet shows the blast that also left some residents of the South Los Angeles neighborhood displaced.
-CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) July 1, 2021
"All we hear was just a boom and then the next thing you know, everything just fell on the ground, our shelves, bookshelves, everything," a neighbor, Miguel Avila, told CBSLA.
The DOJ said Ceja traveled to Nevada multiple times last month to buy "various types of explosives - including aerial displays and large homemade fireworks containing explosive materials - that he transported to his residence in rental vans."
He purchased the explosives out of the trunk of a firework dealer's car at Area 51, according to the DOJ.
The DOJ added that "fireworks in California can be sold for as much as four times what purchasers pay for the fireworks in Nevada."
The 27-year-old was charged with transporting explosives without a license and is facing up to 10 years in prison, according to CBSLA.
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