FARMINGTON — Illegal fireworks proved costly for more than 30 San Juan County residents.
Farmington police issued 24 citations during the Fourth of July season to residents on suspicion of possession illegal fireworks, said Farmington police Lt. Taft Tracy. Each citation carried a $500 fine.
The number of citations issued this year was a more than 70 percent increase from the number of citations issued in 2012, when 14 people were cited.
"We've done a pretty good job within the department of making officers know we have zero-tolerance for this," Tracy said. "I think the officers took that to heart."
The citations were issued from mid-June through Independence Day weekend, Tracy said. Farmington police will continue to issue citations if people are found in possession of fireworks that have been banned within city limits.
Fireworks that shoot more than 6 feet in any direction are not allowed in the city.
Farmington police have responded to a total of 163 fireworks complaints this year, Tracy said.
The Aztec Police Department issued 10 citations to people on suspicion of possession of illegal fireworks, said Capt. Troy Morris. The citations were issued between July 2 and 5. The citations in Aztec carry up to a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
San Juan County firefighters were deputized so they could respond to fireworks calls and issue citations instead of sheriff's office deputies, said sheriff's office spokeswoman Beth Utley.
San Juan County Fire Marshal Chris Cardin said the department issued a warning citation to one person and confiscated that person's fireworks. No other citations were issued.
"It seemed like it was a quiet year," he said. "Everybody followed the rules and regulations, and we had very few complaints."
Bloomfield police Chief Mike Kovacs said one Bloomfield resident was issued a citation for possession of illegal fireworks.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.