Man whose fireworks LAPD detonated is sentenced to prison

A man whose stash of illegal fireworks in south LA spawned the LAPD bomb squad whose botched detonation blew up a residential neighborhood last year and injured 17 people was sentenced Wednesday to five months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Arturo Ceja III, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court in August 2021 to the unlicensed transportation of explosives from Nevada to California.

Ceja was not fined and will not pay any compensation, U.S. Attorneys said.

Los Angeles police discovered Ceja’s hideout in the backyard of a home on East 27th Street on June 30, 2021 after receiving a tip about illegal sales.

Among the 16 tons of explosives were home-made firecrackers, police said, which were deemed too volatile to transport from the home. Instead, they were placed in a total containment vessel where they were detonated on site by the Los Angeles Police Department.

According to a report released in March by an LAPD inspector general, a technician raised concerns about the number of explosives loaded on the ship.

“It’s too much for one try. We’re going to resolve it, right?” The technician remembered a colleague.

The concerns went unheeded and the technician was told to “relax,” the report said.

As Bomb Squad worked to quantify how much material needed to be disposed of, the lead technician skipped a crucial step, the inspector general noted: He didn’t weigh the explosives, only estimated them.

The ship, which is rated for 33 pounds of explosives, was loaded with 39.8 pounds of materials, investigators with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found.

When the materials were finally ignited, the results were catastrophic.

Foundations were cracked, windows were smashed and more than a dozen people sustained injuries, including lacerations and hearing loss.

Over 30 buildings were damaged and more than 80 residents displaced.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-26/lapd-fireworks-detonation-man-sentenced-prison Man whose fireworks LAPD detonated is sentenced to prison

Alley Einstein

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