Police launch crackdowns on underage drinking, fireworks

State and local authorities are launching crackdowns on underage drinking and illegal fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

This summer, 31 Jersey shore police departments will be participating in the "Cops In Shops" undercover program in which they pose as store clerks or wait outside liquor stores to arrest people under 21 who purchase alcohol.

Since it started in 1996, the program has arrested more than 8,000 underage people as well as adults helping them buy alcohol.

State police also plan to crack down this weekend on fireworks brought into the Garden State from neighboring states.

Superintendent Rick Fuentes says it is illegal to use, sell or possess any kind of fireworks in New Jersey, including firecrackers, Roman candles, M80s, cherry bombs and even sparklers without a permit.

Patrols will monitor motorists who enter Pennsylvania to buy fireworks, then bring them back into New Jersey.

AP wires contributed to this report.

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