Feds charge 4 in underground fireworks operation in Trumbull County

Local News
Donald Phillips, charged with selling explosives in Trumbull County.

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Two men from Trumbull County are facing charges following an undercover investigation by federal authorities into an underground fireworks operation.

Two others have also been charged as co-conspirators.

Donald P. Phillips, 27, and Andrew Syacsure, 31, are both charged with making and selling homemade fireworks and other explosives.

According to the indictment, federal agents began conducting undercover buys in February 2019 of the explosives.

Agents first met with Syacsure who showed them a video of a barbecue grill getting blown up to enhance the sell, according to the indictment.

After Syacsure went out of town, agents got in contact with Phillips and arranged several buys between March and April. During those conversations, Phillips told agents he was giving them the “big ones” and some were the “biggest I got,” according to the indictment.

Agents say Phillips and Syacsure made the explosives with ingredients bought online in Syacsure’s basement at his home in Niles.

Most of the buys took place in the parking lot of Phillips’ place of employment at Berena’s Automotive Center on Robbins Avenue.

Donald R. Phillips, 50, and Zachary Booth, 29, were also charged in the case. Booth is charged with distributing explosives. Donald R. Phillips and Donald P. Phillips are both facing firearm charges.

Syacsure and Booth were arraigned Monday where bond was set at $20,000. Donald P. Phillips will be arraigned Thursday.

No information about court proceedings for Donald R. Phillips was available at the time of this report.

Editor’s note: At the time of this report, booking photos were not available for all suspects listed in the report.

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