INDIO (CNS) – Nearly a ton of fireworks were seized from three men,
one of whom was also armed, during a monthlong crackdown on illegal
pyrotechnics sales in the Coachella Valley, according to the Riverside County
The operation ran from the start of June until Monday and involved
multiple units, including the sheriff’s Hazardous Devices Unit, or bomb squad,
the La Quinta Special Enforcement Team and the Southern Coachella Valley
Community Service District Team.
Eulises Alvarez Cardenas, 35 of Indio, Xavier Gutierrez, 21, of
Coachella, and Leon Hernandez, 20, of Coachella were all arrested on suspicion
of transportation of dangerous fireworks for sale. Gutierrez was additionally
taken into custody for allegedly possessing a concealed firearm and high-
The men were booked on different dates into the Benoit Detention
Center in Indio but were released on bond or their own recognizance within a
day or two.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Mariano Matos said that Cardenas allegedly had the
largest stash of illicit pyrotechnics — 1,000 pounds.
In Riverside County, private parties are prohibited from using
fireworks except in Blythe, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and Indio, where so-
called “safe and sane” fireworks, certified by the state fire marshal, can be
sold to the public.
The devices are mostly pyrotechnics that don’t explode or fly,
including sparklers, ground spinners, fountains, snappers and caps.
Under county Ordinance 858, which was amended by the Board of
Supervisors last year in response to an outbreak of blazes around the weekend
of July 4, 2020, fines for illegally storing, transporting or setting off
fireworks can range from $1,000 to $5,000.
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