European police break up organized gang selling fireworks

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Police in Poland, Germany and the Netherlands have broken up an organized crime gang selling fireworks illegally across Europe.

European Union police agency Europol said Thursday that Polish police have seized 80 tons of professional-grade fireworks and arrested 35 suspected members of the crime group in recent weeks.

Europol says the Polish gang is suspected of shipping around 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of fireworks a day to EU member states, including 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of powerful F4-category fireworks, which are illegal for non-professional users.

Police in Poland, Germany and the Netherlands also intercepted unmarked packages containing illegal fireworks, while Dutch authorities blocked four online shops that sold fireworks.

The operation comes weeks before New Year's Eve celebrations, when many people in the Netherlands and Germany set off fireworks.

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