updated 5/25/2006 8:55:30 AM ET 2006-05-25T12:55:30

Police officers who stopped a truck that was tailgating a fuel tanker on a highway say they made a potentially explosive discovery — 18,000 pounds of fireworks.

"It would have devastated a quarter-mile radius if they had gone off," Suffolk County Police Department spokesman Robert Boden said Wednesday.

The truck carrying the explosives was found to be dangerously overloaded when it was pulled over Monday for a routine safety check, police said.

A police dog named Nitro — a German shepherd added to the department's anti-terrorism efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks — sniffed out the fireworks.

The driver of the truck, whose manifest said it was carrying paper goods, brought the fireworks from Maryland for illegal resale, police said.

State law prohibits the sale or possession of fireworks without a permit. The driver, who was with his adult son, faces multiple summonses for carrying hazardous materials and driving an overweight truck.

To demonstrate how powerful 18,000 pounds of fireworks could be, police exploded about 25 pounds of the sky rockets, Roman candles and other fireworks inside a car at the department's firearms range in Westhampton. The car was destroyed in a massive fireball.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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