Around this time every year, America’s law enforcement agencies intensify their quarrel against the nation’s powerful black market of illegal fireworks. From California to New York, the war against illegal pyrotechnics rages in America’s cities.
But, in most cases, the sale of illegal fireworks might attract only the attention of a few neighborhood newspapers. Now, however, people are selling hundreds of pounds of illegally possessed and distributed pyrotechnics, according to authorities.
Americans usually recall visiting the traditional fireworks vendor who appears out of thin air during the boiling days of June, often in a big blue tent or yellow shipping container. But do they recall that one cousin or uncle who could get their hands on fireworks that state governments had banned?
Those rogue cousins and uncles are still causing trouble today.
In the weeks before July Fourth, state and local authorities in New York said they had found large stocks of illegal fireworks.
In an effort to crack down on the use and distribution of the explosives, authorities have been busy searching the state like G-men during the heyday of Prohibition.
According to WNBC-TV, New York City’s Fireworks Task Force recovered $3,900 worth of the illegal contraband on June 20. Authorities arrested three people on charges of reckless endangerment and unlawful dealing of fireworks.
Over the course of the same week, the New York City Sheriff’s Office announced it had discovered an additional $4,100 worth of contraband. Three more arrests were made.
6/19/2021: Deputy Sheriffs, @FDNY Fire Marshals, and @NYPDnews from the #NYCFireworksTaskForce arrested 3 more people today for reckless endangerment and possession of approximately $4,100 worth of illegal fireworks. pic.twitter.com/he2iI9lZ1D
— NYC SHERIFF (@NYCSHERIFF) June 20, 2021
The prior week, authorities in the city arrested eight people who allegedly had possessed $8,400 worth of illegal fireworks.
Escaping law enforcement has proved difficult for topical fireworks bootleggers as they attempt to participate in the lucrative black market.
But the pyrotechnic trafficking extends outside of Gotham City.
The New York State Police and the Syracuse Police Department have done their share of seizing. In a three-day detail, the departments worked together to capture 435 pounds of fireworks in that city, according to CNYCentral.
The departments checked 73 convenience stores and the surrounding area, making five arrests for alleged possession of illegal fireworks and issuing 21 traffic tickets in areas of fireworks complaints.
Among the five arrests, three people were charged with unlawful possession of contraband at the stores, and two were arrested on suspicion of unlawful distribution and sale of fireworks from a private residence.
The arrests came after residents began complaining of frequent firework explosions.
But what would America’s original framers think about classifying fireworks as illegal?
Would they consider it an illegal offense to celebrate the nation’s birthday with explosives? It might be impossible to say conclusively.
According to Time magazine, the first fireworks celebration occurred during the Revolutionary War. Now that American society has mostly escaped the coronavirus pandemic, it might serve as a morale booster to celebrate the nation’s birthday this year with a fireworks display like no other.
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