Fort Mitchell man pleads guilty to federal explosives charge

kward1@herald-leader.comDecember 3, 2013 

A Northern Kentucky fireworks dealer has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of being a felon in possession of explosives.

Sam Droganes, 48, of Fort Mitchell, has been involved in several court cases related to his fireworks operation, Premium Fireworks.

In April 2010, Droganes was sentenced to four months in prison, four months of home incarceration and two years' probation after pleading guilty to one count of distributing explosives without a license.

Agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had raided Premium Fireworks and seized a million pounds of fireworks in July 2007, according to newspaper accounts. A legal battle ensued over the federal government's handling of the 44 tractor-trailer loads of fireworks it had seized.

In 1987, state officials entered into a settlement with members of the Droganes family over allegations that sheriff's deputies in Kenton County had illegally confiscated fireworks from Premium Fireworks.

Convicted felons are prohibited under federal law from having firearms and explosives.

On May 28, at his store in Covington, Droganes sold "1.3G (display) fireworks to a confidential informant who was working with" the ATF, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Droganes pleaded guilty last week to a charge of possession of the explosives in U.S. District Court in Covington. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 20.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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