YouTuber’s Wacko Lamborghini Stunt Ends in Federal Charges

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

What’s more American than celebrating July 4 by taking aim at a $300,000 Italian supercar from a helicopter with an arsenal of fireworks onboard, laying waste to the ultra-high-end vehicle for clout with your 1 million YouTube subscribers?

​​The roughly 11-minute video, titled Destroying a Lamborghini With Fireworks and set to the song “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, “appears to be a live-action version of a fictionalized videogame scene,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday evening in Los Angeles federal court.

But online influencer Suk Min “Alex” Choi is now facing up to 10 years in prison over the “crazy stupid” 2023 stunt, which he carried out partially on federal land—thoroughly pissing off the FAA, the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Office, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in the process.

In addition to exposing Choi, 21, to serious legal jeopardy, the stunt also led the FAA to revoke the helicopter pilot’s license for flying beneath the minimum altitudes required by law, failing to display the chopper’s “N” number, creating a hazard to persons or property, and “operating the helicopter in a manner that was careless or reckless so as to endanger the life or property of another,” the complaint states.

Choi does not yet have an attorney listed in court records, and did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday morning.

The first three minutes of the video, which has been removed from YouTube, consists of “various dramatic action scenes,” the complaint states. “A female and male acting as police officers discuss going to find an individual who is speeding. The female is then shown getting into a helicopter. In subsequent clips, two females are seen onboard a helicopter, while the helicopter is airborne, and the females are holding and shooting fireworks out of the helicopter onto and towards a Lamborghini sportscar driving on the ground.”

The video then transitions into a “behind-the-scenes” segment, showing viewers how the footage actually came together. According to the complaint, Choi is “heavily featured… discussing various parts of filming, including: switching the type of fuel he puts into the Sportscar ‘whenever I’m doing crazy shit,’ purportedly because of ‘less detonation;’ that he worked with the sponsoring camera company to shoot the ‘craziest Fourth of July video involving cars and fireworks;’ and discussing that these are ‘crazy stupid ideas.’”

One of the two women who appeared in the chopper during the opening segment can be seen asking someone off-camera what it was like to be on the receiving end of the fireworks barrage.

“It’s so fucking loud… it’s actually terrifying,” the person replies, according to the complaint.

A screengrab from the video in question, of a Lamborghini Huracan being shot at with fireworks from a helicopter.

A screengrab from the video in question, which is no longer available on YouTube.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Choi, the complaint says, was monitoring the production from a nearby RV. In a subsequent clip, he is seen asking, “How many people have holes in their shirts?” One person responds, “Bro, I got double tapped,” which is followed by footage of the same person being bombarded with fireworks. Choi boasts that he “sprayed everyone,” and when the credits roll, Choi is listed as the video’s director.

The filming took place on June 8, 2023, and again on June 27, 2023, the complaint states.

On Dec. 05, 2023, an FAA inspector notified the DOT Office of Inspector General (DOTOIG) that he was investigating Choi over the video, which investigators believed was filmed at the El Mirage Dry Lakebed in San Bernardino County—an area under the supervision of the Bureau of Land Management.

The DOTOIG inspector subpoenaed Choi’s emails, and found messages he sent during the planning stages, describing the idea to make a 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),” the complaint says.

“[T]hese fireworks are expensive and I plan on letting them all off at the same time, to make a crazy, hectic, firework show,” Choi wrote, according to the complaint. “Choi wrote that the cost break down [sic] would be $2100 for the helicopter (700 per hour x3) and $500-700 for the fireworks.”

In a separate text message exchange, Choi said he would have to drive to Las Vegas to procure the fireworks, “as they are illegal in California,” followed by a laughing-crying emoji.

The FAA inspector contacted the crewmembers listed in the video’s credits, and spoke to someone who revealed the helicopter pilot’s first name, according to the complaint. The inspector found the helicopter’s tail number in a photo the crewmember posted to Instagram, and realized the pilot was someone he had previously investigated, the complaint states.

The feds further connected Choi to the unauthorized shoot via his own credit card, which the complaint says was used to make two purchases in Las Vegas—$15.68 on gas and $21.72 on coffee—on the same day he said he would be in Sin City to buy fireworks.

It is unclear from court records if Choi has been taken into custody by authorities. He is charged with one count of causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

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