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William J. Ihlenfeld, II

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist


November 22, 2012

Pretrial Diversion Agreements Reached in
Laser Pointer Cases

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA — Three Martinsburg residents entered into pretrial diversion agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office for aiming a laser pointer at an aircarft this summer.

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that three twenty-year old men entered into pretrial diversion agreements after the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that these individuals admitted to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft near the Martinsburg Airport on or about July 9, 2012. Pursuant to the written agreements the three individuals will be supervised by the United States Probation Office for a period of 12 months. Among other conditions, these individuals will be required to work regularly at a lawful occupation and to perform 120 hours of community service. In the event that any of these individuals violate the conditions of their agreements Ihlenfeld reserved the right to pursue the prosecution of the offenses.

“While a pretrial diversion was appropriate based upon the particular circumstances of these cases, I sincerely hope that these cases nevertheless serve to educate the community that this relatively new crime is a serious offense with real consequences,” said Ihlenfeld.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, enacted on February 14, 2012, established a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft. Offenders are subject to a fine or a term of imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both.

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jarod J. Douglas and investigated by the F.B.I.

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