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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Seizures of illegal fireworks up 60% from last year


Ismael Cartagena Carattini, director of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau Explosives Division

By The Star Staff


Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa announced on Monday that seizures of illegal fireworks have increased by 60 percent compared to this time in 2022.


López Figueroa said law enforcement initiatives to combat the illegal transfer and sale of explosive devices have resulted in the seizure of 2 million units, or its equivalent, 55,000 pounds of illegal pyrotechnic material, during 2023. That represents an increase of 60 percent compared to 2022, he added.


The Puerto Rico Police Bureau’s (PRPB) Explosives Division is in charge of the seizure initiative.


“There are people who do not cooperate with regard to the safety of their community and make use of illegal devices that can cause injuries, burns, mutilation and even death, to themselves or to other people or animals,” the police commissioner said in a written statement. “Faced with this reality, during this year’s campaign, which has as its motto ‘The Safety of Your Family Is the Most Valuable Gift,’ we call for awareness and consideration to avoid the risks associated with the use of pyrotechnic elements during the festivities, especially Christmas and New Year’s. There are many ways to enjoy and celebrate. There is no need to resort to these devices, the effects of which are suffered by the most vulnerable.”


During the launch of the “Safe Christmas 2023” campaign at the PRPB shooting range on Isla de Cabras, the authorities presented examples of the negative impacts of the inappropriate use of pyrotechnic material. Joining López Figueroa at the event were Explosives Division Director Ismael Cartagena Carattini, Public Safety Secretary Alexis Torres Ríos, Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche, and acting Consumer Affairs Secretary Lisoannette González Ruiz. Representatives of the Social Movement for Animal Welfare participated in the event to raise awareness about the harmful effects of fireworks on animals.


Torres Ríos urged citizens to enjoy Christmas with their families and take all preventive measures to avoid incidents with fireworks.


López Figueroa, meanwhile, warned that anyone caught with fireworks in violation of the law could expose themselves to fines of up to $5,000 and jail sentences that could reach three years. He urged citizens to report illegal activities through the confidential police line 787-343-2020.

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