Costa Mesa police seized 500 pounds of illegal fireworks Thursday from a man who they say brought them from Nevada and tried to sell them to kids.
The thousands of pyrotechnics included 11,000 firecrackers, 3,600 bottle rockets, 300 mortars, 300 Roman candles and hundreds of aerial rockets — the largest of which were 40 stubby projectiles at least 6 inches in diameter.
"All these large ones are Disneyland stuff," said Tim Vasin, a battalion chief with the Costa Mesa Fire Department.
Police said Antonio Arellano, 51, of Las Vegas bought the explosives for about $2,000, hitched a U-Haul trailer to his Dodge Durango and transported them to Costa Mesa, where he hawked them behind a liquor store at Newport Boulevard and 22nd Street.
"The suspect was selling these to minors," Vasin said.
Officers arrested Arellano around 9 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of felony possession of dangerous fireworks, according to police records.
He's being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and is due in court Monday, according to booking information from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The last time Costa Mesa saw a fireworks bust this big was in 2006 when police found two rooms in a home filled with pyrotechnics, Vasin said.
He warned that the type of fireworks being sold in both cases are unpredictable. The battalion chief pointed to a small rocket attached to the end of a wooden stick to illustrate his point.
"They can go up 10 feet and go left or right," Vasin said. "They can go into a crowd. They can go on top of a building."
The Sheriff's Department bomb squad picked up the fireworks Friday afternoon and took them to a lab to be examined and disposed of.
Only "safe and sane" fireworks bearing the state fire marshal's seal are legal in Costa Mesa.
They are sold in the city from June 30 to July 4 at booths run by local community groups and nonprofits.