Illegal Fireworks Enterprise Endangers Palolo Community - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Illegal Fireworks Enterprise Endangers Palolo Community

By Beth Hillyer

KALIHI (KHNL)--Undercover officer in the Kalihi district heard about a man selling illegal aerial fireworks out of his house.

They raided the home and showed off the fireworks worth an estimated $100,000.

Officers say the 24-year-old suspect kept 700 pounds of illegal fireworks in a bedroom in his Palolo home. And a four-year-old child lives there.

The rest was in a storage shed and police say he put the entire neighborhood in danger.

The state outlawed aerial fireworks for a reason. They are dangerous.

Last Thursday, Kalihi police seized nearly 4,300 pounds of outlawed fireworks.

"760 pounds of that two tons were in a bedroom where the family was actually staying. Obviously had this ignited it would have been a huge catastrophic event in the Palolo area," said Major Kurt Kendro.

Police arrested 24-year-old Rodney Ballesteros and he's facing felony fireworks charges. Some are similar to military mortar shells.

Business was brisk until the raid.

"It was really run like a convenience store, people going in and out the majority of the fireworks were in an attached storage room to the rear of the house," explained Major Kendro.

Investigators feel the illegal operation should have been obvious to neighbors and they encourage you to call police if there is someone selling fireworks near you.

Police say the suspect told him he is a financial analyst but they say his forecast for a huge profit will go up in smoke when the bomb squad destroys the stash.

Federal agents may join the investigation to determine how the container of illegal fireworks was brought in.

With this bust, thousands of aerials are taken off the streets.

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