Former Garland, Texas Man Admits Aiming a Laser Pointer at Helicopter
DALLAS—A former resident of Garland, Texas, appeared in federal court this morning, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez, and admitted aiming a laser pointer at a helicopter, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Steven Alexander Chavez, Jr., 23, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for June 3, 2015, before Chief U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis.
According to documents filed in the case, in August 2013, Chavez knowingly aimed the beam of a laser at a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter. Chavez aimed the laser at the helicopter from the backyard of a friend, while the helicopter was flying overhead.
A few days later, special agents with the FBI arrested Chavez in Lubbock, Texas, where he had recently relocated from Garland. Following his initial court appearance, he was released on bond.
The FBI, Texas DPS and Garland Police Department are investigating. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Burns is prosecuting.