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Manteca, Lathrop citing users of illegal fireworks
illegal fireworks in ceres
Illegal fireworks shoot up into the sky from a home south of Hale Aloha Way on Saturday evening. Reports of aerial fireworks were widespread, far too many for Ceres Police to get to.

If you’re going to celebrate or use fireworks this weekend in Manteca or Lathrop, it’s a good idea to do so safely.

Manteca Police and Manteca Fire personnel patrols will be scouting the city looking for illegal fireworks being launched. All they need to do is shoot video, tie it to the address, and the homeowner or renter of record a week or so after the holidays will receive a $750 citation with a $250 administrative fee for a $1,000 hit.

More than two dozen Manteca households were $1,000 poorer last year.

Lathrop Police Services will have additional deputies and supervisors on hand this weekend for the Fourth of July holiday as well. They are pairing up deputies with firefighters from the Lathrop Manteca Fire District to eradicate the use of illegal fireworks while enhanced patrols work to keep the streets safe and respond to the large volume of calls.

“It’s usually our largest call volume day of the year, but this year it’s a Saturday and a Sunday so it’ll be interesting to see how that works,” Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann said. “We’re going to have extra bodies working along with the Fire Department, and we’re hoping that the big joint effort this past week put a dent in the availability of illegal fireworks.”

Biedermann said that Lathrop deputies did a sweep and participated in the county task force that has so far taken more than 3,000 pounds of illegal fireworks off of the streets in the run-up to the holiday.

While the sale and use of aerial and exploding fireworks is illegal in California, it’s also a trade that Biedermann said is extremely lucrative for those that engage it – mentioning a bust last month in the Bay Area where three U-Haul Trucks full of illegal fireworks and more than $1 million in cash was confiscated by authorities.


Manteca and Lathrop

plan DUI checkpoints

And while fireworks will prove to a focal point of the teams this weekend – especially with California’s drought conditions and the abundance of very dry fuel that makes conditions perfect for fast-moving fires – officers will also be out looking for drivers behind the wheel that are showing signs of impairment.

In Manteca, that will include a DUI checkpoint from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. at an undisclosed location tonight.
Checkpoint locations are chosen based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired.

During the checkpoint, officers will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Manteca Police Operations Captain, Paul Carmona said. “We are looking for impaired drivers because driving under the influence is dangerous and puts others on the road at risk.”

Manteca Police Department reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. Always follow directions for use and read warning labels about driving or, ”operating heavy machinery,” which includes driving a car. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.


“Use those things that are available like a Lyft or an Uber – spending $10 today will save you $10,000 in fines,” Biedermann said. “It’s not worth it to get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence – especially not with the options that we have available to us today.”

And Biedermann wants people that have dogs to do everything that they can to keep them indoors and calm when the fireworks are going off.

“We get a lot of calls on that night about dogs that get loose because they just can’t stand the sound of the fireworks,” Biedermann said. “People are going to celebrate – we know that’s going to happen – so it’s all about being proactive and preventing problems before they start.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.