Feds Raid Northern Kentucky Fireworks Business Before Fourth of July

TAYLOR MILL, Ky. (AP) - Federal agents put a damper on a fireworks wholesaler, raiding its warehouse and nearby retail store in northern Kentucky just two days before the Fourth of July.

The 45,000-square-foot Premium Fireworks warehouse was raided Monday by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local authorities. Authorities also raided the company's retail store seven miles north in Covington.

They carried out dozens of boxes of fireworks and loaded them into rental trucks.

The raids stemmed from public safety concerns, Brandt Schenken, assistant special agent in charge from the ATF in Columbus, Ohio, told The Kentucky Enquirer for a story Tuesday.

Special Agent David Ackley told The Kentucky Post agents were executing a special search warrant related to a violation of fireworks laws, though he would not elaborate.

No arrests had been made in connection to the raid, ATF spokeswoman Kim Riddle said Tuesday. She declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

Both Premium Fireworks locations are registered to Samuel Droganes, according to state and county records. Droganes, who was working at the store Tuesday, referred calls to his attorney, Bruce McClure.

McClure said he wouldn't comment "until we know what's going on." He stressed that Droganes is a longtime businessman and community member whose business recently received a chamber of commerce award for excellence.

Despite the raids, the Premium Fireworks store in Covington was open on Tuesday, according to an employee who answered the phone. It was unclear whether the company's warehouse near Taylor Mill was still operating after Monday's raid.

Randy Davidson, who lives less than 20 yards from the warehouse, said it operated "more like a store."

Customers showed up at all hours and before leaving, frequently tried out some of the products - often disturbing neighbors, Davidson said.

"These weren't crackers," he told the Kentucky Post. "There were some that shook your house."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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