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Task force seizes 16 tons of illegal fireworks in Honolulu; Maui police to crackdown on violators : Maui Now


Approximately 16 tons of illegal fireworks were seized in a shipping container late last week in Honolulu as part of enforcement efforts conducted by the state’s Illegal Fireworks Task Force.

Nearly all the seized fireworks were illegal aerial fireworks consisting of multi-shot “cakes” or launchers capable of firing multiple fireworks into the air in long consecutive strings of fire, according to the Department of Law Enforcement. The investigation is ongoing.  

“The Illegal Fireworks Task Force has been working closely with the local shipping industry to stop illegal fireworks from making it into Hawaiʻi,” said DLE Director Jordan Lowe. “The strong cooperation cultivated between law enforcement and industry resulted in the interdiction of the shipping container and the recovery of the illegal fireworks. I would also like to recognize the efforts of the Honolulu Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations, who provided officers and agents to assist with the recovery of the fireworks. This could not have happened without the collaborative efforts of both law enforcement and our industry partners,” he said.

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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.

Since its inception approximately five months ago, the task force has been actively investigating illegal fireworks in the community and has seized more than 35,000 pounds of fireworks.    

Aerial fireworks have long been prohibited in Hawaiʻi because of the risk they pose in causing injuries or property damage. Aerial fireworks and other illegal fireworks are also a constant source of community nuisance, department officials said.

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The Illegal Fireworks Task Force will continue to pursue illegal fireworks and those people who illegally traffic them.

“We hope that through cooperative efforts such as this, the community may soon enjoy the peace and quiet of nighttime without the unsettling noise of illegal fireworks,” said Director Lowe. 

MPD will ‘take decisive action’ to crackdown on illegal fireworks

The Maui Police Department announced their commitment to “taking decisive action” to address escalating concerns surrounding the use of illegal fireworks within the Maui community. 

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“The use of illegal fireworks not only endangers public safety and property but also affects those who suffer from PTSD, family pets, our kupuna, and those within our community who are recovering from recent events,” police said in a press release.

To combat this issue, in addition to enhanced patrols, the Maui Police Department announced it will be offering cash rewards for information leading to the recovery of illegal fireworks or information leading to the prosecution of the individual(s) responsible for the use, possession, and/or distribution of illegal fireworks. 

It is illegal to import, transfer, sell, or use aerial fireworks without a permit. The law establishes criminal liability for a homeowner, renter, or person responsible for real property who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly allows an individual to possess, set off, ignite, or cause to explode any aerial device while on the real property. It also sets criminal penalties, which can constitute a Class C felony, a misdemeanor, or a fine of at least $500 and no more than $2,000.

To submit a tip or to report a firework violation on Maui, call 808-244-6392.

Source: Maui News

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