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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fresno Man Pleads Guilty To Shining Laser At CHP Plane

FRESNO, Calif. — David Walter Fee, 22, of Fresno, entered a guilty plea on Monday to aiming a laser pointer at a California Highway Patrol airplane, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Monica Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office.

According to court documents, the CHP airplane, identified as Air 43, was struck up to 50 times by a powerful green laser pointer. As a result, the pilot suffered temporary blindness and Air 43 was forced to break away from its duties relating to a burglary in progress at a Fresno middle school.

Fee is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on August 25, 2014. He faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Fresno Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Michael G. Tierney are prosecuting this case.

The FBI announced a national campaign today to deter people from pointing lasers at aircraft. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at aircraft. The reward is available for 90 days in all 56 FBI field offices. Thousands of laser attacks go unreported every year. If you have information about a laser strike, or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call your local FBI field office or dial 911.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:14-cr-071-LJO
Updated April 8, 2015