CA: Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Fireworks That Caused Huge Explosion

Burning Bomb Fuse Explosive iStock-michalz86 510846838
CA: Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Fireworks That Caused Huge Explosion …IMG iStock-michalz86

LOS ANGELES – -( A South Los Angeles man whose fireworks were detonated by police, leading to a massive explosion that destroyed a specially designed containment vehicle, damaged a neighborhood and injured 17 people, pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge.

Arturo Ceja III, a.k.a. “Autron,” 26, pleaded guilty to a single-count information charging him with transportation of explosives without a license.

According to court documents, Ceja made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives that he transported to his residence in rental vans. Most of the explosives were purchased at Area 51, a fireworks dealer in Pahrump, Nevada. Fireworks in California can be sold for as much as four times what purchasers pay for the fireworks in Nevada. Ceja also purchased homemade explosives – constructed of cardboard paper, hobby fuse and packed with explosive flash powder – from an individual selling the devices out of vehicle, according to court documents.

On June 30, after receiving a tip that fireworks were being stored in Ceja’s backyard, Los Angeles Police officers responded to his residence on East 27th Street. At the house, officers found more than 500 boxes of commercial grade fireworks in large cardboard boxes. The initial investigation by local authorities estimated that approximately 5,000 pounds (2.5 tons) of fireworks were found. But law enforcement later determined that Ceja was storing approximately 32,000 pounds (16 tons) of fireworks on the property.

In addition to the commercial fireworks, the initial search of Ceja’s residence led to the discovery of more than 140 other homemade fireworks as well as explosives-making components, according to court documents.

While the fireworks were being removed from Ceja’s residence, the LAPD Bomb Squad determined that some of the homemade fireworks containing explosive materials were not safe to transport due to risk of detonation in a densely populated area and therefore would be destroyed on scene using a total containment vessel (TCV), according to court documents. During the destruction of the devices, the entire TCV exploded, damaging homes in the neighborhood and injuring a total of 17 law enforcement personnel and civilians.

United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin has not yet scheduled a sentencing hearing, at which time Ceja will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General; and the Los Angeles Police Department investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda M. Bettinelli and Erik M. Silber of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section are prosecuting this case.

Los Angeles Field Division

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF )

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Chris Mallory

Civilians are government employees not in the military. Cops are civilians.


Anyone who would take a firework and constrain it into a closed environment is asking for it. They were designed to go off in the air above and create a dazzling light show. duh!


Non-government employees aren’t allowed to have fireworks – they’re too dangerous.

It’s for your safety.

Leave this business to the professionals.

Also, the headline is funny:

“CA: Man Pleads Guilty to Transporting Fireworks That Caused Huge Explosion”

It should read:

“Government employees lie and cover-up for each other after blowing up neighborhood”

Clearly, it wasn’t the fireworks that caused a huge explosion – it was the LAPD who made a big bomb out of the fireworks and intentionally set it off in a residential neighborhood.


Wrong. Merriam Webster:

“one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force


: Sadly, dictionary “definitions” are fairly, um, fluid these days. Especially online ones.

Back in my day, when we did our homework on the back of a shovel by the fireplace, printed dictionaries were very slow to change.

Dr. Strangelove

From my Webster’s (2001 copyright, paper) College Dictionary: Any person not an active member of the armed forces or of an official force having police power.


Uh huh. It’s essentially the same in several 50 year old dictionaries I have.


At least 7 butthurt copsmokers downvoted. LOL


Date of publication of YOUR version, please?
Mirriam Webster is one of the least relaible dictionaries out there….. massaged by the politically correct.


What does the meaning of civilian have to do with PC? If you have credible contrary pre-PC definitions, provide them with proof no one used the allegedly “PC” sense of “not a cop”. While you’re at it, provide an alt definition of a person who is not a cop other than “a person who is not a cop”. Oxford: a person who is not a member of the armed forces or the police Cambridge: a person who is not a member of the police or the armed forces Collins: any person not an active member of the armed forces or… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r



Dr. Strangelove

Water, yes. Every LE incident? No. As a former criminal and current truck driver, I’ve had way more interaction with law enforcement and they are mostly professional, even when I was acting like a d-bag.


You’re right. Some love to make generalized statements because it makes them feel superior. The down votes you got are because several folks here hate it when facts contradict their blustering. Facts are that most police are good people doing a crappy job that has low pay, bad hours and an endless supply of bs to deal with. There are bad cops for sure but they are a minority. I suspect that most of the people complaining about police are probably the kind of people who are always in trouble with law enforcement anyway. Occasionally you may have an interaction… Read more »


Go to youtube and watch hundreds of instances of cops violating people’s rights and lying. In the majority of cases, there are other cops around and they do nothing to intervene. People don’t have to have an interaction with cops themselves to form opinions. Learning solely through your own experiences is not a smart way to go through life. Beobear, what do you think about the cop who assaulted the elderly woman with dementia and then laughed with other cops when watching the video of her bone popping out of its socket? What do you think of the cop who… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC


See the downvotes to my post? You wrote that people like to make generalized statements about bad cops, but it’s really just the opposite. When people make specific comments about specific incidents the cops don’t respond – they just mash the downvote button.

Please respond to the specific case I described. Do you think 100% of all the cops in that case were bad?


How about the recent event of Miami Beach enforcers beating someone who was compliant? There were a lot of enforcers there – some beating, some watching the beating, some doing their best to look away.

Not one of them intervened on behalf of the civilian.

Do you think that 100% of all the enforcers who were there are bad?






Any suggestions as to how a witness could intervene in such an event? Testifying and working through the legal system is certainly one approach, but only provides vengeance rather than protection.


The format for comments is a little cumbersome – are you referring to the witness of the assault on the elderly woman with dementia?


Yes. I am not skilled ballsey enough to physically intervene, nor would I be likely to survive resulting manhunt if I succeeded. Talking to them would likely result in arrest and obstruction charges. Physically obstructing them would result in a beating worse than they performed on the woman, plus arrest and charges. Shooting each cop in the head would certainly stop the beating, but i’d have serious qualms about such action – starting with not being emotionally capable of shooting anyone not directly attacking me or mine. Most likely i would copy millennials, pull out phone and start videoing –… Read more »


I thought the guy in the video did a good job. He remained calm. He was surprised the “non-civilian” enforcer wasn’t interested in his eyewitness account of an unprovoked assault on an elderly woman. He persisted to the point it was obvious the “non-civilian” enforcer was so emotionally involved (and dumb) that he might arrest the “civilian” for violating some made up law. Fighting a corrupt, emotional “non-civilian” enforcer on his terms does not seem like a good idea, but I won’t provide any suggestions – I only support what the “civilian” did. He is a hero. For those who… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

I downvoted your post due to the idiotic strawman copologia. Never did or been arrested for any crime. Never seen any cop, ex-cop or cop-toady here even say the names of victims like Don Scott, Vicki & Sammy Weaver, The Branch Davidians, Tony Timpa, Daniel Shaver, LaVoy Finicum, or thousands of others, let alone admit or condemn the corrupt culture that made the murders possible & let murderer-cops off with impunity.

Say Their Names.


Adding Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle to your list.

At least a few of those involved have faced consequences- even if consequences are insufficient.


At least 14 bad “non-civilian” enforcers and not a “good apple” in sight.

The chief bad apple got promoted.

Top men.

I wonder how many of those door-kickin’ heroes were veterans?

Can you imagine at church when the preacher asks all the “first responders” to stand and those criminals stand-up and people clap for them?



<crickets chirping…Chirp…Chirp…Chirp…>


“Some love to make generalized statements because it makes them feel superior.”

Other posters:
Specific example 1
Specific example 2
Specific example 3
Specific example 4
Specific example 5
Specific example 6
Specific example 7
Specific example 8

“. . . “


It’s the same organization that fired over 100 rounds at newspaper delivery ladies when they mistook their vehicle for the one an ex-cop turned murderer was driving. Rather than admit to being a hit squad, they said the sound of a newspaper hitting the concrete sounded like a gunshot. They also said the vehicle was being driven erratically and they had to fire to stop the threat. The newspaper delivery ladies were driving from one house to another, slowing down, delivering the newspaper, and then driving to the next house. It was terrifying – the enforcers were in fear of… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

What do you think their retraining consisted of? My guess is they focused on becoming more effective with their firearms so that they could have killed the women with a few shots instead of hosing down the neighborhood.

You are talking about Smell A after all – where even the cops are hoplophobes and cannot hit the broadside of a barn from the inside.


I don’t know, but I made a guess in my comment above that the training may have consisted of:

“when you are sent out to make a hit, don’t fire over 100 rounds at newspaper delivery ladies.”

Apparently the enforcers had never received that training.

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

Does the LAPD work closely with FBI (federal bureau of instigation, great track record lately) and atf. Your personal safety is well in hand. Thank God for the 2A.


“Protecting the Public, Serving the Nation”?

What an adorable, if inaccurate, slogan, bless their hearts.


Whoever was in charge of the bomb squad on this case was 100% the cause of the explosion, not the defendant. Was he in the wrong storing all these fireworks in a residential area? Yes and that should be the only charge he faces. Unfortunately, the leftist government of California will take any opportunity they can to try and convince voters that they need to be protected by the freedom hating nanny state. Most voters in Cali will fall for the whole charade. As was proven by the failed recall of Newsom. I think the leftist ideology is embedded too… Read more »

WI Patriot

“A South Los Angeles man whose fireworks were detonated by police, leading to a massive explosion that destroyed a specially designed containment vehicle, damaged a neighborhood and injured 17 people, pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge.”

Not to say he didn’t commit some kind of crime(being stupid…???), but he didn’t cause the resulting explosion…

Mike the Limey

Any of those government employees facing disciplinary or criminal charges regarding their negligence in causing this explosion?


Thought not.


Nope, the current crop of liars will not. Just like Killary will never see the other side of the steel bar curtain at the Leavenworth Hilton.


lapd should do like the military, you destroyed an expensive piece of equipment through your stupidly, you get to pay for it

Last edited 1 year ago by swmft

They ought to let let the guy go and charge all the LE involved with terminal mopery. Hehehe…ATF, especially.
Whoops. Who’s got de matches?


What a clever spin piece & web they weave when they practice to deceive. The Police cause the damage by making the decision to detonate the explosives there rather than remove it & transit it to another location to detonate. Whether or not the material & components is/were deemed unstable is the crux & justification. Would/Could it have been transferred to another remote location to detonate ?? We’ll never know. Could 9/11 have been handled differently were we given all the actual facts or a scripted narrative ?? Was forensic evidence tampered with ?? Police are citizens employed a government… Read more »


All right there in the back yard. Coulda just turned the hose on it, but, noooo….


Yes 100%. It’s a no Brainer but the bureaucratic masonic machine has to be in charge of the dumbed down idiocracy.


Amuzing toponder that the accused managed to transport 16 tonnes of the stuff from Pahrump Nevada into Los Angeles without any difficulty or incudent. He, the “ignorant amateur”. But let the coppers sniff “an incident” and they blow up the ‘hood? It was NOT the goods being rpesent, nor how they were stored. It was the stupid “professionals” who decided to go big league caused the real problem. What was the dollar value of that “bomb containment” vehicle they destroyed? T’warn’t a cheap-un. Did the machine have any “instruction book” or label printed on it? DID the coppers haing their… Read more »


Well your Honor can these officers produce such Evidence ? LMAO


Even if blowing it up, just put less at a time into the containment vessel.

From what I first read, they actually were well below rated capacity. Unless cops f’ed something else up, seems to me that whoever made (and rated) the containment vehicle bear a considerable responsibility for the outcome.


The damage to civilians’ homes was caused by government employees being too stupid and lazy to calculate the amount of explosive material in the fireworks and compare that to the rated maxium capacity of the TVC. By overloading the TVC, the government employees created a large bomb from fireworks.

None of the LAPD enforcers were fired. They were reassigned.



Not to worry, we and the civilians involved will pay for that repair and not the involved gov’ment agencies. “It was not their fault”.

Dr. Strangelove

It’s the AFT, President* SpongeBrain DependsPants said so.


The bomb squad people deserve to be brought up on charges. Complete and totally ignorance of the devices they were meaning to detonate. The “bomb squad” and AFT personnel are fully liable for the destruction, damages and injuries.


Yes, the individuals should be liable.

However, the “not-so-qualified” immunity that TStheDeplorable supports (and claims we don’t understand), will prevent any of them from facing civil suits.

The “we protect our own” mindset of government employees will protect all of those responsible from criminal prosecution, termination, or even suspension.

I wonder how many of those involved were veterans?


Can you imagine if a “civilian” did that?


“the LAPD Bomb Squad determined that some of the homemade fireworks containing explosive materials were not safe to transport due to risk of detonation in a densely populated area and therefore would be destroyed on scene”
Yet somehow they were safe enough being transported all the way from Nevada to here.


funny since he wasnt the one who mishandled the explosives the government did. He was able to store them without issue other than the gov saying “your not allowed to have that”