Local man faces prison for illegally pointing laser at helicopter
McALLEN – A 42-year-old man from Edcouch has pleaded guilty to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Luz Fernando Solis admitted that on May 3, he knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointer at a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter.
The aircraft was providing assistance to local law enforcement when a laser beam struck the DPS helicopter twice. Authorities observed an individual, later identified as Solis, at the location where the laser beams originated.
They conducted a search of his residence and found the laser pointer.
Lasers have a dangerous effect on pilots when the beams of light strike an aircraft. The light can temporarily blind them. A laser, when aimed at an aircraft, can create a visual distraction or cause discomfort or even damage to a pilot’s eyes.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez will impose sentencing on Feb. 11, 2021. At that time, Solis faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Solis was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.
The FBI and DPS conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frances Blake Land is prosecuting the case.