A 26-year-old Ceres woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of distributing illegal fireworks, the fourth arrest in less than a week in Merced's latest effort to crack down on fireworks ahead of the Independence Day holiday.
Ashley V. Thigpen was booked into the Merced County jail on illegal-fireworks-related allegations, the Merced Police Department announced in a news release. She posted bail and was released from custody a few hours later, according to jail records.
Like the first round of arrests announced earlier this week, undercover Merced police officers responded to an online advertisement, arranged to meet the alleged seller in the parking lot of a hardware store and made the arrest after the transaction was complete, police said in the statement.
At a news conference Monday, city authorities announced the arrest of three men in connection with the city's push to eliminate illegal fireworks as part of its "zero tolerance" campaign. City leaders said illegal fireworks have been a problem in Merced for many years.
Only "safe and sane" fireworks are permitted. Using illegal fireworks such as "skyrockets" or "barrel bombs" could come with a $2,000 fine, police said.