The Illegal Fireworks Task Force seized approximately 17 tons (34,000 pounds) of illegal fireworks on Wednesday from a shipping container that falsely declared its contents as other items.
The investigation into this shipment and the previous shipment of illegal fireworks announced last week is continuing. To date, the task force has seized nearly 70,000 pounds of illegal fireworks.
In executing a search warrant, the task force likely prevented the fireworks from reaching the black market, as many of the seized items were not in consumer fireworks packaging, officials said.
Furthermore, the fireworks were packaged in amounts that exceeded what any single package may contain under state law. The shipment also contained illegal aerials and an assortment of other illegal fireworks.
The Department of Law Enforcement is the coordinating agency for the Illegal Fireworks Task Force, which comprises state narcotics agents, deputy sheriffs, county police officers, the Department of the Attorney General, and federal agencies that include Homeland Security Investigations, the US Postal Inspection Service, US Customs and Border Protection, US Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“The Illegal Fireworks Task Force is committed to interdicting fireworks wherever and whenever we can locate them. We are currently investigating these illegal shipments and believe that additional seizures of illegal fireworks may be imminent,” said DLE Director Jordan Lowe. The task force will continue to pursue illegal fireworks and those people who illegally traffic them. “I would like to again recognize the efforts of our law enforcement and industry partners who assisted us with the recovery of the fireworks,” said Director Lowe.
The DLE is also announcing two efforts related to fireworks and public safety during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
- First, the DLE has opened a tip line where the public may anonymously provide information about illegal fireworks traffickers and dealers in Hawai‘i. The public may call 808-517-2182 to leave information about people who are illegally importing or selling illegal fireworks across the state. To report illegal fireworks users, the public should call 911.
- Second, the Department of Public Safety deputy sheriffs will be assisting the Honolulu Police Department with patrolling the H-1 freeway in the Waipahu area on New Year’s Eve. Deputy sheriffs will be monitoring the area to deter the public from unsafely stopping along the freeway, which poses serious safety hazards for themselves and others.
For more information on the illegal fireworks tip line, visit: law.hawaii.gov.