The potentially “explosive” 4th of July celebration was put to a halt two days prior to the holiday.
On Thursday, July 2 at approximately 11:30 p.m., East Los Angeles area sheriff’s deputies discovered a total of over 1000 pounds of illegal fireworks, along with 49 explosive devices, which were described as “M-80’s”.
The fireworks and explosives were discovered by deputies around the area of the 5200 block of Repetto Street, in East Los Angeles near Montebello, where they were patrolling the area, and noticed some suspicious activity.
What they saw turned out to be the suspect, Joseph Valencia, 46, selling illegal fireworks to another Hispanic male in a parked vehicle. After a brief investigation, deputies discovered that Valencia’s residence was a few doors down from the parked car. Deputies then proceeded to investigate the residence.
According to the report, the deputies found between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of illegal fireworks and 49 explosive-type fireworks – the M-80’s – inside of the residence.
Two suspects were immediately arrested for illegal possession of explosives and being in possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit. The suspects were identified as Joseph Valencia and 46-year-old Daniel Guerrero, who was involved with the sale of the illegal fireworks and explosives as well.
The illegal fireworks were taken to a local fire house and the explosive devices were turned over to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson and Explosives Detail personnel for proper disposal.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s East Los Angeles Station at (323) 264-4151.