Evanston residents, businesses upset over UHP's fireworks sting

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  • Zadruga Guy
    July 8, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    cjhebgen, it sounds like your plan would waste a substantial amount of time and money for anyone doing it. About 1.5 hours to drive to Evanston and about 1.5 hours back, if not stopped. If stopped, then add about an hour. Plus the cost of the gas, plus the cost of filing the lawsuit. Plus the time it takes you to file the lawsuit, file subpeona requests for the video shot by UHP, plus the time taken up by the hearings.

  • cjhebgen
    July 8, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Some suggestions:

    1. Go to Evanston and visit a "targeted" fireworks store. Carry in a couple of duffle bags. Purchase a few boxes of sparklers and carry them out to your car. Nothing illegal for use in Utah.

    2. Drive directly to the Utah border and pray that UHP pulls you over. Don't speed, illegal lane change or anything. No moving violation excuse.

    3. Wait for the UHP trooper to tell you that you've been pulled over for illegal fireworks. When he asks to see them. Tell him no. Demand a warrant. Waste their time. When they get one, they open your trunk to see sparklers. Videotape it.

    4. File suit against UHP for illegal arrest without proper evidence. Provide videotape to all the local tv stations.

    5. Evanston should also create a new ordinance preventing anyone from using binoculars or other lenses to "spy" on a business.

    6. Loitering laws should be enforced.

    7. If an undercover cop is in the parking lot of a business, that business should call the Evanston police and have them arrested for trespassing and loitering.

    UHP will learn that it isn't worth the hassle.

  • Zadruga Guy
    July 8, 2010 6:59 a.m.

    People who want the government to strictly enforce the law regarding the immigration conduct of others but do not want the government to strictly enforce laws regarding their own conduct are HYPOCRITES saying, "Do as I say, not as I do."

  • JayTee
    July 7, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    If you REALLY want to do the job of protecting people and enforcing public safety, put those unmarked cars outside of Utah bars, and then pull over the drunk drivers. I don't care if people go home and drink straight alcohol out of a 50-gallon drum--but keep it off the road! Also, minimize the number of repeat offenders by cooperating with the INS and sending the illegals back south of the border--regardless of what Burbank and the other babies think about being politically correct and advocating for the cheap-liberal-votes lobby and the cheap-labor lobby. Stop the stuff that REALLY costs us and REALLY hurts us, and forget about the firecrackers.

  • Lyle
    July 7, 2010 4:31 p.m.

    Good grief. Do our UHP troopers have nothing better to do? They are employees of the people of the State of Utah. We can, if take the time, work through the legislature to make this cowardly behavior illegal. But we should not have to. The UHP should be looking for drunk drivers, aggressive drivers, speeders, etc. This should be classified as "goofing off" when evaluations are done. This is embarrassing to me as a Utahan. Every UHP trooper I have ever spoken to (even when I've been bad) has been professional, friendly, fair, and a credit to Utah. They are better than this.

    I have never purchased anything at Phantom Fireworks, but next year I think I'll buy a bunch of stuff there. Then go to the local Burger King and load all the contraband into a friend's vehicle. Then proceed home to Utah, hopefully to get pulled over. After bidding "Have a nice day!" to the frustrated trooper, I can set the contraband off somewhere safe.

  • CheColBar
    July 7, 2010 3:00 p.m.

    I agree with Evanston residents and businesses!
    The UHP has no business conducting stings in Wyoming! Period!

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt
    July 7, 2010 2:53 p.m.

    Until recently is was legal to drive with an open alcohol container in Wyoming. When you cross a state line it is ILLEGAL. SO those Wyomans can stop their belly aching.

    July 7, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    Is it legal to go to a brothel in Nevada, pay, and then bring the lady back to Utah for the service?
    How is this any different then fireworks?
    Is the UHP sitting in the parking lot looking for this?
    If you live in Utah, and you want to see something blow up, then shoot a toilet with your gun.
    In Utah, that is apparently legal

  • Zadruga Guy
    July 7, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    There is nothing that Evanston has that Utah residents cannot legally buy in Utah. And when they buy locally, the tax money helps UTAH.

    I applaud thus UHP for this crackdown. If a fireworks store or a liquor store in Evanston exists primarily to facilitate Utahns' illegal activities then the stores should not be in business. I hope they soon are not.

  • Demisana
    July 7, 2010 2:02 p.m.

    You know, if people could always be responsible and sensible about safety, we wouldn't need laws to protect the majority from the few idiots. But there's always going to be some fool who never stops to think that setting off some fun fireworks (or a campfire, or burning brush, etc.) in a rural area will start a wildfire. After all, that's just a stupid law...

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt
    July 7, 2010 1:34 p.m.

    Hey Wyoming, if you want your state to burn down your state full of nothing but grass and shacks then that is ok. We in Utah have nice homes and property to protect.

  • joe5
    July 7, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    klepsydra: Shhh!!. Don't say that too loudly because bigots like The Canuck (9:46am) won't be able to blame all their problems on the LDS church. We certainly don't want to say anything, true or not, that flies in the face of their prejudices.

  • Fitness Freak
    July 7, 2010 1:27 p.m.

    I like the idea of writing loitering citations to the cops sititing in their cars watching for Utah lawbreakers.

    It would be even funnier though if some of the local charter bus companies would start making daily trips to Evanston so Utah citizens could: buy smokes (.62 cents per pack tax)booze, lottery tickets, fireworks, and (isn't there a huge porn store there also?)

  • MenaceToSociety
    July 7, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Gotta be careful of the Utah Communist Party.

    If everything was not made illegal in Utah by the Utah Communist Party, residents would not need to go to Wyoming to make purchases. Freedom in Utah would solve the issue.

  • klepsydra
    July 7, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    I live in CO, where we also have strict firework laws. The same thing happens at the WY/CO border.

  • procuradorfiscal
    July 7, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    Unscrupulous Wyoming businesses can whine about revenue decline all they want. Witless Utah rednecks can disagree with UHP's enforcement policy and priorities all they want.

    But UHP's actions, both in Wyoming and Utah, were all perfectly legal.

  • pangent617
    July 7, 2010 1:10 p.m.


    The problem as I see it, is not that they are enforcing the law on the Wyoming transaction and therefore, they are not enforcing a law on the merchant. So, the the only one paying the penalty is the lawbreaker in Utah.

    I would be far more sympathetic to the Wyoming merchants if they weren't actually soliciting this behavior from Utahns. While, they can say that they aren't doing anything illegal. They are are complicent in the situation.

    Let's be honest, the point is their bottom line not the legality or illegality of what is going on.


    The comparison is non sequiter and not valid as support for your point which is well taken. So with that caveat I agree with you, so If I may I add to your point LDS LIBERAL: guys quit your whining, if you break the law, you will and should pay the price.

  • davidjay
    July 7, 2010 1:03 p.m.

    I have a problem with any police force spying on me. I am a law abiding citizen. I don't shoot off any fireworks at any time. I have never been to Evanston. The issue isn't personal, it is an issue of being an American.

    This is wrong. This is a step toward a police state. Police states are states where the police assume you are guilty and can do whatever they wish to you. In America you are innocent until proven guilty. You have certain rights as set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What is the next step in this effort.

    Maybe the police should put a camera in my bedroom to see what sexual practices I enjoy. I'm sure, I do something illegal or immoral according to someones moral code.

  • Sabrecat
    July 7, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    Please.... there is nothing wrong with what has happened. The UHP wants to enforce the laws that Utah has. Whats wrong with that?

    And Wickster77 your Idaho Lottery straw man example is hilarious. It's not illegal to posses a lottery ticket in Utah. Any "gambling" being done with regards to the lottery ticket is done at the time of purchase, in Idaho where its legal. Utah doesn't prohibit its citizens from going somewhere other than Utah to gamble. No laws have been violated therefore no need for any sort of law enforcement.

    Evanston shopkeepers need to shut-up and grow-up. Utah enforcing its laws (within its own borders no less)is nothing for you to whine about. The fact that there were some parts of the sting that took place in Evanston is irrelevant. Cooperation between state law enforcement agencies is a long standing precedent that no one will get in the way of.

  • 42istheanswer
    July 7, 2010 12:46 p.m.

    Put up barriers around the paring lots they can't see over. Most of the problem solved.

  • Last Stand
    July 7, 2010 11:59 a.m.

    Re: davidjay

    It's not just illegal to use these types of fireworks in Utah, it's illegal to possess them. If they have probable cause to search your vehicle, they will. It's called a warrant. If you decline to allow them to search the vehicle, you can be sure it won't be long for them to obtain a legal warrant, if they have probable cause.

    By the way, UHP's practices are just as legal as the stores in Wyoming selling fireworks that you're defending. Don't want to get caught? Don't possess in Utah. Pretty simple.

    P.S. If you really need to get your firework fix, why not drive to Evanston, light some off, and then come home? The problem I have is all the illegal fireworks I see going off in my neighborhood all the time. Do I believe they are inherently dangerous? Not really. But they're illegal. What exactly are we teaching our kids? That it's okay to break the laws you don't agree with?

  • davidjay
    July 7, 2010 11:44 a.m.

    What grounds are they using to search my vehicle? I think it would be easy to prove illegal search and seizure. They would have to admit why they believed that I possessed illegal material. I would fight this.

    I am usually pro-law enforcement, but this is above and beyond what is reasonable. Catch someone using illegal fireworks, arrest them. That is fine. Spy on someone outside your jurisdiction then do an illegal vehicle stop is wrong and against everything the West is supposed to stand for.

    Illegal fireworks are illegal due to fire risk and increased injury risk. They probably should be illegal for these reasons. But, they are not illegal in Wyoming. So the storekeepers are breaking no laws by selling them.

    This practice by UHP is just plain wrong, no matter how you look at it. It is an example of police state mentality gone wrong.

  • Last Stand
    July 7, 2010 11:42 a.m.

    The whole point of having laws is for the safety of all. The law on fireworks is meant to make everyone safer (wildfires, firwork accidents). Speed limits are meant to make all drivers and passengers traveling on our roads safer. If you disagree with these laws (whether it be border checkpoints, stings, or speed traps) then why don't you lobby to have such laws changed? Remember, in a democracy, the majority makes the laws. Either work to change that majority opinion or move somewhere else where your opinions might be the majority. Otherwise, stop whining about it!

  • Last Stand
    July 7, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    Re: Roscoe @ 10:54 a.m.
    They "just sell fireworks" on the border? You mean they thought, "I'd love to own a fireworks shop in Evanston just because. Oh, Utah outlaws the fireworks I sell and I'm within a short distance of the border? Well isn't that fortunate!" It may not be illegal but it sure isn't ethical. They know very well that the bulk of the booze and fireworks they sell are crossing state lines ilegallay. If that's how they want to make their living, and if they can sleep at night, then I fail to see why anyone should have sympathy for them if UHP is enforcing Utah law.

  • scambuster
    July 7, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    American Citizen, you cannot blame a legitimate business for the misconduct of its customers. Yes, they might base their business on the fact that many of their customers come from Utah, but that is their right.

    That is like blaming pharmaceutical companies for those who abuse their prescription drugs or gun manufactures for those who mishandle their weapons. What happened to personal responsibility and placing the blame on the person who is illegal transporting fireworks across the border. It is not illegal to buy fireworks in Wyoming, it is illegal to bring them into Utah, whether they are from Utah, Wyoming, or Timbuktu. The businesses in Wyoming are not bringing them into Utah, the people that buy them are doing so.

  • Demisana
    July 7, 2010 11:28 a.m.

    Might be nice if Wyoming fireworks would stop sending flyers to homes in Utah. They know perfectly well it's illegal here, so why are they soliciting our business? Just sayin...

    And no, I don't want to change our laws to make that kind legal here. Too much fire danger. This year may be particularly bad come the end of summer, with the wet spring we had the weeds and undergrowth will have grown more than usual.

  • Roscoe
    July 7, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    "This is hypocrisy. If your business is based on illegal activity, you need a new business. Quit whining. "
    But it's legal activity in Wyoming. The merchants just sell fireworks, they have no control over where they are ultimately being used.

  • dalep2u
    July 7, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    To me...this is no different than your local city (Draper comes to mind) that has excess police coverage in the mornings when everybody is just trying to get to work. They have their speed traps to catch Mr. Hard worker so that they can raise revenue. Why don't they have that officer working on hard crimes...particulary theft? Because theft doesn't help the city or state coffers...

    Same with Evanston....it's all about the money...not fighting real crime!!!!

  • Johnny Triumph
    July 7, 2010 10:44 a.m.

    Just obey the law and quit transporting illegal stuff into the state, whether it be fireworks or alcohol. Shame on Utahns for not living the law; and if you have a problem with the law then run for office and change it. Simple fix to a non-issue!

  • So-CalAggie
    July 7, 2010 10:44 a.m.

    Wyoming is one of the few states that allow pretty much all kind of fire works. Most states outlaw any of the kind that shoot up into the air and explode. It’s not just Utah. Nevada (although you can purchase off the 15 at the Indian Reservation), Arizona, Idaho (although they allow bottle rockets, just not the exploding kind). In most jurisdictions outlaw fireworks.

    With that said though, I think spying in unmarked cars by the UHP and then pulling them over as soon as they cross the state line is STILL on the verge of illegal search and seizure. I would insist I was just looking and didn't actually purchase any, and then refuse to let them search my car. If they threaten with impound until they get one, just say fine, I'll call my Attorney, and let them know you've got all day. Because in reality, they don't.

  • Jash
    July 7, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    Does UHP really have the authority to do this? What if the Utah driver was driving THROUGH utah to Nevada, Arizona, or New Mexico?

    Is it the use of these fireworks or the mere possession of these fireworks that is illegal in Utah?

  • LDS Liberal
    July 7, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    What make me laugh is the same Conservatives wanting "freedom" to smuggling illegal fireworks into the State, and cry foul when when it's about immigrants.

    Show some integrity.

  • SumBuddy
    July 7, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    Solution: Plan on spending the day in Bear Lake. If you are from the SLC area or Ogden area go to Bear Lake via Evanston. Arrive at Evanston in the morning, buy your porn, booze, or fireworks then go have fun at Bear Lake. After a raspberry shake then head on back home via logan. Problem solved! I guess you could also go home via monte cristo if you cannot spend the day in bear lake. I don't think I've ever seen a highway patrolman on the road to Randolph. There are ways around than just going directly to Evanston, buying fireworks, then heading home immediately. Any Utahn that does that deserves to get them confiscated.

  • joe5
    July 7, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    You guys would be the first ones screaming if there was a fire threatening your neighborhood due to a fireworks violation.

    "Why aren't they doing more to protect us?" you'd whine.

    "The police are negligent in letting people use these illegal fireworks," you'd moan.

    Face it. This is less about what went on over the 4th than it is about you having one more chance to whine and express your baseless outrage against the government, the church or whatever it is you hate so much.

    I'm just glad we have people running things that are willing to do their jobs instead of waiting for the inevitable property damage and death that would result from these illegal fireworks.

  • AlanSutton
    July 7, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    If the UHP organization were really doing right, it would be honest about its operation. The article quotes a UHP official saying, "All of the enforcement took place in Utah." That's clearly not true. The UHP officers who sit in unmarked cars in Evanston and take down license plate numbers are a key part of the "enforcement" operation.

  • fish8
    July 7, 2010 10:20 a.m.

    Wow, what a bunch of anti law inforcements people. Just obey the law and you won't have any problems. If you don't like the law then use legal means to get it changed. If you are so against Utah's laws then move to Evanston and live happly ever after.

  • Wickster77
    July 7, 2010 10:20 a.m.

    to American Citizen: the Wyoming business are NOT, i repeat NOT, based upon illegal activities. Do not disparage them. The "illegal" act is Utahns going into Wyoming to buy fireworks that are banned in Utah. It is not the business owners at fault here, it is the Utah individuals. That said, this "sting" is stupid. What next, UHP staked out in Idaho writing down Utah license plates and then stopping people in Utah to see if they purchased a lottery ticket? Guess UHP would want to build a fence around Utah borders to keep us in and keep the "bad guys" out. This is a joke and the wimpy UHP spokesperson should find a better tag line than "its for the good and safety of the utah people." Puhhleassse, there are more serious things that are effecting my safety than "illegal" fireworks.

  • MiP
    July 7, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    re: rmk

    You'll see why the fireworks are illiegal when countless wild fires are started this summer.

    Also, for what it is worth, these fireworks would also be illegal in Iliinois and Iowa. I would know. I lived in these two states during 2009-1010.

  • Tom Smith
    July 7, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    This is just more cops being bullies. In spending time in Wyoming and at the Wyoming border the UHP is ignoring real issues within in the state that are a much greater threat to Utahns. The priorities are all screwed up... but then it is much easier to target the average unarmed and "soft" citizens that to conduct an investigation against a criminal that may be a threat to the law enforcement officer as well as public safety.

  • Cougar Blue
    July 7, 2010 10:13 a.m.

    This is so funny, and fun, to watch all of these little "situations" that we get ourselves into. Oh, what a great day!

  • Not_Scared
    July 7, 2010 10:09 a.m.

    We need a beer party movement to free adult Utah beer drinkers from the tyranny of 3.2 beer. Beer spoils if its not stored cold. Utah's beer drinkers risk paying high prices in government run stores to buy bad beer.

  • rmk
    July 7, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    why are the fireworks legal most every where but Utah anyway. Some activist group got our politicians to pass it. We should put it up for a vote and let the people decide. I agree arrest the officers and let the governor of Utah get them out of jail. These are the same people stopping all motorcycles leaving the Raceway.

  • TheCanuck
    July 7, 2010 9:46 a.m.

    With a predominant religion influencing the laws and law enforcement in Utah. People in Utah see everything in terms of black and white. Right or wrong. True or false. Us vs them. The UHP tactics in this case are just an extension beyond state boundaries of this.

    You must remember that the UHP is the same agency that had its own drunk driving skeletons a few years ago. Its largely a "do as I say," not "a do as I do" organization.

    All it would take is one unreasonable search and seizure attempt by the UHP and a lawsuit and these tactics would end.

  • Whoa Nellie
    July 7, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    How is such a sting operation "protecting" Utahns? I don't need such protection. I would prefer a handgun to protect myself.

  • Hellooo
    July 7, 2010 9:43 a.m.

    Guess Evanston police just need to start enforcing the no loitering laws against these "undercover" officers. Which branch of Utah law enforcement is this- the UHP. Established to aid and protect stranded citizens in trouble on the streets, now harassing people as they cross the border without breaking any vehicle movement law. Guess everyone needs something to do on slow holidays-even the UHP.

  • American Citizen
    July 7, 2010 9:36 a.m.

    So how would the Evanston guys feel about Utahns coming over the border to break Wyoming law? Say, fishing or hunting without a Wyoming license?

    This is hypocrisy. If your business is based on illegal activity, you need a new business. Quit whining.

  • DN Subscriber
    July 7, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    UHP would be doing far more to protect the state if they were equally aggressive in going after illegal people and those who smuggle them into Utah.

  • Brian Utley
    July 7, 2010 9:25 a.m.

    If I were an Evanston police officer, I would arrest on the spot any Utah enforcement person taking down names and descriptions. The charge: loitering. My first priority would be to help the people who paid my salary---the business people---not help Utah enforce its local fireworks laws.