ATF to lead investigation into Christmas Eve illegal fireworks incident

Several fireworks displays tonight will signal the end of 2019 and the beginning of a new year and a new decade. (PNC file photo)

Guam – The sounds of gunshots ringing in the new year isn’t the only bang residents heard at the stroke of midnight, just like Christmas Eve illegal fireworks once again lit up the sky and now the feds are heading up the investigation.

For over a week the Guam Police Department has been investigating the discharge of illegal fireworks in the village of Agat, an offense that GPD admittedly shared would have gone un-answered for, if it weren’t for the viral social media video filmed by off duty police officer Allan Perez.

This morning GPD Spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao shared on K57’s the Andrea Pellicani show that the feds are now leading the investigation into the commercial grade illegal fireworks.


“We are going to take first the incident Christmas Eve incident and I just want to continue to remind the community that we are moving forward with a criminal and administrative investigation. I just spoke with one of our investigator’s this morning and we have our liaisons that are assigned to the ATF and the fed side and they are actively working the investigation conducting the interviews working on that end,” explained Tapao.

Then came New Year’s Eve, according to GFD Acting Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas, four permits were issued to legally discharge fireworks, they were Ypao Beach Park, Leo Palace Resort, Sheraton Laguna Resort and Hotel Nikko Guam. But once again in the village of Agat fireworks illuminated the sky, however, the southern village may not have been the only one to ring in the new year illegally.

“So far we’ve seen two social media two fireworks display but again to validate where it originated from to validate if in fact it was in Guam its going to be hard to determine because the fact that it was pitch dark there was nothing to identify a village or identify any type of call that we received from the GPD . I still need to go back and review the calls that were received and the calls that were fielded by the officers on New Years eve,” stated Tapao.

Tapao says that residents can help both local investigators and their federal counterparts at the ATF by providing any information or videos relative to the case. If you have any information contact GPD at 477-4357.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.