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Man charged over video of helicopter shooting fireworks in El Mirage

A Studio City man is facing federal charges for allegedly directing a YouTube video in which a helicopter shoots fireworks at a Lamborghini Huracan at the El Mirage Dry Lakebed, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Suk Min Choi, 24, also known as Alex Choi, was arrested Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said. He was charged Tuesday in a federal complaint accusing him of causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

The case stems from a YouTube video believed to have been recorded at the El Mirage Dry Lakebed in San Bernardino County in June 2023, according to DOJ spokesperson Ciaran McEvoy. The video first appeared online on July 4, 2023.

In it, “two women in a helicopter — flying close to the ground and without filming permits — repeatedly shot fireworks at a Lamborghini sports car,” he said in a written statement.

“Law enforcement believes that Choi committed the offense sometime in June 2023, that he did not have a permit to film a fireworks shoot in a helicopter, and that he purchased the fireworks in Nevada because they were illegal in California ” said McEvoy.

The video, described by prosecutors as “what appears to be a live-action version of a fictionalized video game scene,” identified Choi as the director, McEvoy said. Additional footage published alongside it showed Choi participating in and directing its creation.

If convicted of the charges, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Environmental Crimes and Consumer Protection Division.

He was scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday, McEvoy said. A hearing was expected to take place in the coming weeks.

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