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Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Fireworks that Caused an Explosion in South Los Angeles

Posted by John Rogers | Aug 31, 2021

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced that Arturo Ceja, of South Los Angeles, pleaded guilty this morning to a single-count charging him with transportation of explosives without a license.

Early this year, police detonated fireworks that led to a massive explosion that destroyed a specially designed containment vehicle, damaged a neighborhood and injured 17 people.

According to his plea agreement, Ceja made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives that he transported to his residence. In California, fireworks can be sold at a much more lucrative price, sometimes up to four times the cost versus Nevada. Ceja purchased homemade explosives – constructed of cardboard paper, hobby fuse and packed with explosive flash powder – from an individual selling the devices out of a vehicle.

Mid this year, the Los Angeles Police Department responded to Ceja's residence after receiving an anonymous tip. Police discovered approximately 2.5 tons of fireworks. But police later found an additional 16 tons of fireworks stored elsewhere on Ceja's property.

While the police removed the fireworks, LAPD Bomb Squad determined that some of the devices were not safe to transport. They made the decision to destroy the fireworks on scene by detonation. The explosion cause massive damages to the surrounding area including 17 law enforcement personnel.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated the case. Ceja will be sentenced later before the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin. He faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in federal prison.

If you have been charged or are under investigation for a federal crime, then contact our office today to schedule a consultation with a federal criminal defense lawyer.

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John Rogers

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