A 55-year-old man has been arrested for dropping ignited M-80 type explosive devices from his drone in California. According to the authorities, the culprit has been issued a misdemeanor citation for dangerous fireworks, and his drone confiscated for evidence.
George Wise was arrested on June 3 after officers from the American Canyon Police Department (ACPD) traced a drone suspected of igniting illegal fireworks back to his house on Kilpatrick Street.
The police said they had received many complaints of “large booms” possibly associated with illegal fireworks over the last few weeks. While responding to a similar complaint on June 3 at around 12:30 a.m., officers from the ACPD observed an airborne drone in the area and saw fireworks being ignited from it.
They followed the drone to its landing position and found (not so) Wise holding the aircraft. They saw that the drone had a device attached to it, which could be used for lighting up fireworks while in flight. Wise was arrested after he admitted to igniting M-80 type explosive devices from the drone.
It’s worth highlighting that this incident happened just days after a fire broke out in Napa County, burning over 500 acres. Fireworks are illegal in Napa County and in the City of American Canyon. Moreover, M-80 type devices are not even considered fireworks; they are classified as illegal explosive devices and are banned in all 50 states in the US.
Attaching fireworks to drones is illegal as per the FAA also. In a statement issued in 2019, the agency explained:
Perhaps you’ve seen online photos and videos of drones with attached guns, bombs, fireworks, flamethrowers, and other dangerous items. Do not consider attaching any items such as these to a drone because operating a drone with such an item may result in significant harm to a person and to your bank account.