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Press Release

Dallas Man, Who Admitted Aiming A Laser Pointer At An Aircraft,is Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

DALLAS — Kenneth Santodomingo, aka “Juan Goel Pagan” and “Juan Joel Pagan,” 22, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor to 30 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in February 2013 to an indictment charging one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.  Santodomingo was arrested on January 28, 2013, after a criminal complaint was filed for the offense, and he has been in custody since that time.  Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

“This young man’s conduct was extraordinarily dangerous and could have had disastrous consequences, which was reflected in the Court’s sentence today,” said U.S. Attorney Saldaña.  “I commend the Dallas Police Department, the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Air Marshal Service for their work in this investigation.”

According to documents filed in the case, at approximately 4:08 a.m. on January 28, 2013, two Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers were operating a DPD helicopter over a residential area in search of a motor vehicle burglary suspect when the cockpit was illuminated by a laser pointer approximately four times over a 10-minute period.  The intensity of the light refracting across the aircraft’s windscreen obscured the pilot’s vision and impaired his ability to view the instruments and the ground, forcing the pilot to turn the aircraft in a different direction to avoid vision damage and maintain aircraft control. 

After pinpointing the origin of the laser, the pilots observed, via the onboard camera’s thermal imaging, an individual in the backyard of a residence in the 7000 block of Lake June Road.  When patrol officers arrived at the house, Santodomingo answered the door, eventually admitted to having pointed the green laser light at the helicopter out of curiosity as to how far it would go, and handed over the laser pointer to the officers.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Miller and J. Mark Penley prosecuted.

Updated June 22, 2015