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Centre County couple admits altering commercial fireworks to make them more powerful

WILLIAM SPORT — A Centre County couple has admitted commercial grade fireworks to make them more explosive and selling them.

James Woodring, 50, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court, to charges of illegal manufacturing of explosives and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

His wife, Christina, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture explosives.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Carabello said the evidence would show James Woodring bought fireworks in Ohio, took them to his home and removed the lifting charges.

He made them more powerful, added longer fuses and in early May 12, without having a license to sell explosives, sold 19 of the mortars to an undercover officer in York County for $240.

Woodring made arrangements to sell 40 more but when he and his wife were working on them, a lit cigarette caused an explosion that burned both of them and destroyed their home, the prosecutor said.

Woodring also admitted illegally possessing a semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, pump rifle and another rifle. The pistol had been reported stolen.

He is not permitted to own a firearm because of a 2010 conviction for illegally selling fireworks over a three-year period.

He was accused of selling fireworks that contained more than 5,200 pounds of explosives. He pleaded guilty and was placed on probation for a year.

Court documents stated he had had a license to possess and display fireworks but to sell them.

The indictment in the current case contained a forfeiture charge but it was dismissed Wednesday.

The reason was the firearms, nearly 400 rounds of ammunition and approximately $3,000 in currency already have been turned over to the government.

 The Woodrings remain free pending sentencing.

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