A Garden Grove man’s aspirations to sell thousands of dollars worth of dangerous and illegal fireworks have fizzled out like a wet sparkler.
The Garden Grove PD and Garden Grove Fire Department on Wednesday evening displayed more than 1,000 pounds of illegal fireworks seized that afternoon after a search warrant was executed at a home on Dakota Avenue east of Brookhurst Street.
Jonathan Brian Salgado, 29, was arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing illegal fireworks, and possessing the chemical compounds to make them, Garden Grove Police Sgt. Carl Whitney said at a news conference Wednesday evening.
The cache recovered in Salgado’s car, garage and a shed on the property has a street value of close to $10,000, Whitney said.
“If you have or are selling illegal fireworks…we’re going to go after you and arrest you, and you will be get booked at the Orange County Jail for felonies,” Whitney said. “We want to save lives and protect property in Garden Grove.”
Salgado is in custody at Orange County Jail and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to jail records that list his occupation as “customer service.” He has a scheduled court appearance at the West Justice Center in Westminster on Friday.
Salgado was cited a few years ago for possessing illegal fireworks, Whitney said.
His arrest Wednesday was the culmination of an investigation that began more than a month ago, when Garden Grove Fire Department Capt. Bill Strohm, an arson investigator, asked the GGPD’s assistance in snuffing out illegal fireworks in the city (click here to read about Strohm in a previous Behind the Badge OC story).
Police and fire investigators responded to ads regarding the sale of illegal fireworks on craigslist and other social media sites and set up undercover buys.
Twice they met with Salgado to purchase fireworks, Whitney said.
A search warrant was issued a few days ago and a third undercover purchase was arranged Wednesday afternoon.
Undercover investigators met with Salgado at an undisclosed location and found fireworks in his vehicle.
Around the same time, at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, a team of other investigators from the PD, FD and the OCSD Bomb Squad executed the search warrant at Delgado’s residence, where he lives with his wife, mother and children under 10 years of age, according to Whitney.
There, they found illegal fireworks — M80s and M100s, mortar tubes, exploding devices, aerial mortars that can shoot up in air 100 feet, as well as detonation fuses and other items used to make fireworks — in Salgado’s garage and a shed, Whitney said.
Police suspect Delgado was distributing the illegal fireworks in Garden Grove and surrounding cities.
Whitney and fire department officials stressed the serious nature of illegal fireworks, which are any fireworks that do not display the state fire marshal’s seal of approval as “safe and sane” fireworks.
“People can lose fingers and hands, and these (devices) can cause major structural damage,” Whitney said.
Said Capt. Thanh Nguyen of the Garden Grove FD: “This definitely is a serious matter this year with our serious drought conditions.”
The OC Bomb Squad will dispose of the illegal fireworks.
Anyone who suspects someone is selling or making illegal firework is urged to call the Garden Grove PD’s investigation line at 714-741-5800.