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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2003

Toledo man sentenced in illegal fireworks sales

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A Toledo man was sentenced yesterday to more than six years in federal prison after being found guilty last year of illegally selling professional-strength fireworks to customers of his Angola, Ind., business.

Kenneth B. Shearer, 44, was convicted in federal court in June, 2002, of selling and receiving fireworks that are classified as explosives under federal law. Shearer did not have the required license from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to sell regulated fireworks, authorities said.

U.S. District Court Judge William C. Lee imposed an 80-month sentence on Shearer. It represents the longest prison term ever against a person investigated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Investigators with the commission and the ATF found that Shearer illegally bought more than $25,000 in professional fireworks and then sold them for as much as a 500 percent profit to roadside fireworks dealers across the Midwest.

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