On November 2, 2017, Ernesto Alvarez, Jr. of Long Beach, California, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Los Angeles, to illegally transporting hazardous materials. Specifically, he transported over 8,000 pounds of illegal fireworks in a vehicle without hazardous materials identification placards.
This case began in June 2016, when Federal and local law enforcement agents conducted a warranted search of a warehouse in South Gate, California. During the search, large quantities of illegal fireworks were discovered inside the warehouse and in a rental truck outside. Alvarez admitted the illegal fireworks in the truck were his, and he was responsible for transporting them into California from Nevada. He was arrested for possession of a destructive device and indicted on December 13, 2016.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Los Angeles (LA) County Fire Arson Task Force, which works to identify illegal shipments of fireworks into California. Other task force agencies include the LA County Fire Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with assistance from Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.