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|May 24, 2017|
Moreno Valley man charged federally
MORENO VALLEY- (INT) - Miguel Avalos, 24, of Moreno Valley was charged in a federal information with pointing the beam of a laser at an aircraft in the special maritime jurisdiction of the United States.
The aircraft was a helicopter owned and operated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
On February 10, 2014, the RSD Tactical Air Unit was flying a helicopter in Moreno Valley providing assistance in locating a missing Alzheimer’s patient when Avalos knowingly aimed a green laser pointer, which he had purchased online, toward the RSD helicopter.
As a result of being struck by the green laser beam, a prism effect was cast in the cockpit of the aircraft helicopter, causing the deputy operating the RSD helicopter to become momentarily dazed by the intense light and caused him to lose the ability to see outside the cockpit’s windows.
Mr. Avalos is scheduled to be arraigned on June 24, in federal court in Riverside. Avalos faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.
Reports of laser attacks have increased dramatically in recent years as laser devices have become more affordable and widely available to the public.
Hazards to pilots include temporary distraction and impaired vision, which is particularly dangerous during the critical takeoff or landing phase of flight. In addition, pilots have reported the need to abort landings or relinquish control of the aircraft to another pilot as a result of laser attacks.
California, where thousands of laser strikes are reported each year, consistently leads the nation in reports of laser attacks.
Story Date: May 19, 2015