San Diego - As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials want to warn cross-border travelers that importing fireworks from Mexico into California is prohibited.
CBP officers remain vigilant at California ports of entry to ensure that these dangerous and illegal products do not enter San Diego County where fire danger will increase during the summer months.
"Many travelers do not understand that it is illegal to import these dangerous devices," said Chris Maston, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. "Imported fireworks can be dangerous because of the fire hazard and irregularities in manufacturing. Each year, our officers confiscate hundreds of fireworks and turn them over to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department bomb squad for disposal."
Some border travelers may be tempted to purchase fireworks in Mexico during the days leading up to Fourth of July celebrations.
"When travelers arrive at the border with fireworks and properly declare them, CBP is required to confiscate the merchandise, but without penalty. Those who try to circumvent the law by failing to declare the merchandise face stiff monetary penalties." Maston said. "We are warning residents so they can avoid the risk of possible injury as well as the financial loss caused by confiscation of the fireworks, in addition to possible civil or criminal penalties."
Travelers who attempt to smuggle illegal fireworks into the country face penalties ranging from confiscation of the contraband to seizure of the transporting vehicle and monetary fines equal to the U.S. dollar value of the fireworks. In addition, arrest and prosecution are possible in the more egregious cases.