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Local man faces prison for illegally pointing laser at helicopter

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Texas Border Business

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.

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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.

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