West Palm Beach Man Charged With Unlawfully Operating Drone In Restricted Airspace Related To Super Bowl LV
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the filing of a criminal complaint charging Kevin Jonathan Canty (33, West Palm Beach) with violating national defense airspace. If convicted, Canty faces a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison.
According to the complaint, on February 6, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a temporary flight restriction (TFR) covering an area extending outward from downtown Tampa. This TFR, along with others, was issued as part of a comprehensive security plan designed to protect and secure the events leading up to, and including, Super Bowl LV. That day, FBI agents saw an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), commonly referred to as a “drone,” flying near the USF Health CAMLS building—an area within the TFR. FBI agents later located Canty, the operator of the drone, nearby in downtown Tampa. Canty stated that he is an FAA-licensed remote pilot drone operator and that he was aware that a TFR was in place for the Super Bowl. A review of his drone’s flight path showed that it had traveled through downtown Tampa, which was hosting public events related to the Super Bowl. Furthermore, according to the flight path, Canty had flown his drone over people and moving vehicles.
A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.