18 Months for a Stupid Laser Trick
McALLEN, Texas (CN) - A Texan was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for pointing a laser at a Border Patrol helicopter.
Margarito Tristan III, 28, of Donna, pleaded guilty on July 1 and was sentenced Wednesday.
Border Patrol helicopter pilots on night training were disoriented by a green laser shined in their eyes on March 7, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
"After altering course, the aircrew was able to detect a vehicle which was the source of the laser by using their night vision goggles," prosecutors said in the statement. "The aircrew then directed law enforcement officers on the ground to the vehicle and they subsequently conducted a traffic stop. A green laser was recovered from the vehicle and Tristan admitted to using it to illuminate the helicopter."
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez said at the sentencing hearing that the possible fatal consequences for the pilots and people on the ground justified the stiff sentence for Tristan, a first-time offender.