Local Man Arrested for Aiming Laser at HPD Helicopter
HOUSTON—A 26-year-old Pasadena man has been charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Julio Cesar Valdez-Salazar was indicted Oct. 7, 2015, and taken into custody today.
He will make an appearance in federal court today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith, at which time the government is expected to request his detention pending further criminal proceedings.
He is charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 39A. The indictment alleges that on or about June 23, 2015, Valdez-Salazar knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointer at a Houston Police Department (HPD) helicopter 80Fox, an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft.
If convicted of the felony offense, he faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and police departments in Pasadena and Houston. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Schammel is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.