YouTuber faces 10 years in federal prison for stunt involving a helicopter shooting fireworks at a Lamborghini

A YouTuber’s planned pyrotechnic stunt captured on video has landed him in hot water facing federal charges.

The 2023 social media stunt involving fireworks being shot out of a helicopter at a Lamborghini earned Suk Min Choi, known as Alex Choi online, charges for the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

A federal criminal affidavit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California due to Choi’s video titled, “Destroying a Lamborghini With Fireworks,” which he posted last July. It has since been taken down.

(Video Credit: KTLA 5)

Choi, whose YouTube channel boasts nearly 1 million subscribers, posted a $50,000 bond and was released Thursday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating along with the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Transportation, which was notified in December by an inspector with the FAA  about the investigation into the 24-year-old influencer.

In the video which is almost 11 minutes long, Choi allegedly presses a “fire missiles” button while two women in a helicopter shoot fireworks at a Lamborghini sports car, according to the affidavit. Law enforcement believes the video was shot on the El Mirage Dry Lakebed in San Bernardino County.

According to a Justice Department press release:

After shooting what appears to be a live-action version of a fictionalized video game scene, the video transitions to a behind-the-scenes look at how Choi shot the first third of the video. During this portion of the video, Choi allegedly makes various references to himself coordinating the shoot. Specifically, the video states that Choi directed it. In the video, Choi thanks a camera company for “being a part of my crazy stupid ideas.” He also allegedly said in the video that the group who helped make the video “[expletive] up” at one point “because I forgot to tell my friend how to use a torch.”

Finally, as noted in the affidavit, during the video it appears Choi made the decision to end filming when someone asked if they would film again, stating, “No, that’s it. We’re out of fireworks, right?”

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

The YouTuber is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison if he is convicted.

The affidavit cited an email by Choi and noted, “Choi wrote his idea was to make a short, one minute video of an ‘attack helicopter shooting missiles (mortar style fireworks) at the car, while the car is trying to run away and dodge the missiles using flares (roman candle fireworks attached to the back of the car.'”

Someone from the camera company texted Choi about cameras capturing “insane 360-degree bumpers shot with firecrackers,” according to the affidavit which noted that Choi responded that he could “get my friend with a helicopter out and attach cameras on the helicopter while he chases me.”

“I can even have someone sitting in the helicopter and have them shoot fireworks back at me,” he said in another text message, according to the document.

“Federal authorities said radar data from the day of the video shoot showed that the helicopter left an airport in Pacoima, California, around 1:53 p.m. and turned toward El Mirage Lake, a dry lake in California, where the video was filmed,” NBC News reported. “The helicopter’s transponder was then turned off, according to the affidavit. The helicopter reappeared on the radar and flew back to the airport just before 9 p.m., the document says.”

The pilot’s private pilot certification was revoked by the FAA earlier this year.

Frieda Powers

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