Stephen S. and Annette Fox were indicted today by an Erie County grand jury on charges of running a massive operation selling illegal fireworks.
Fox, 39, and his wife, 38, pleaded innocent before State Supreme Court Justice Ronald H. Tills. They are charged with unlawfully dealing in fireworks and criminal possession of a weapon. Fox was allowed to remain free on $60,000 bail, and Mrs. Fox is free on her own recognizance.
Neither would comment as they left court.
Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said the indictment stems from the seizure of more than $250,000 worth of fireworks from a Walden Avenue warehouse between Brinkman and Sumner avenues and the Foxes' Wex Avenue home last July.
Clark said Daniel M. Tubinis, 38, of 262 Loepere St., who was arrested along with Fox last July, will not be prosecuted because no evidence was uncovered linking him to the criminal operation. Fox allegedly told undercover agents last summer he was the area's biggest local fireworks dealer.
In a probe launched after the Erie County Sheriff's Department received a tip, undercover deputies said they purchased fireworks and explosives from Fox and after a July 2 undercover sale arrested him.
In a trash-filled warehouse Fox was renting at 648 Walden, deputies recovered the fireworks and explosives, including hand-held sparklers, coconut-size charges packed with explosive powder, and large mortar rounds.
Clark said Fox was prosecuted for illegal fireworks sales in 1991 after high-powered firecrackers and other fireworks were confiscated at his home.