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PRESS RELEASE: Bakersfield Man, Pablo Cesar Sahagun, Pleads Guilty to Laser Strikes on Sheriff Helicopter

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 11, 2016

Bakersfield Man Pleads Guilty to Laser Strikes on Sheriff Helicopter

FRESNO, Calif. —Pablo Cesar Sahagun, 26, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to aiming the beam of a laser pointer at a Kern County Sheriff’s helicopter, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

In pleading guilty, Sahagun acknowledged that on February 26, 2015, he repeatedly struck and tracked a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, Air-1, with the beam of a green laser pointer. According to court documents, the laser pointer was key activated and labeled as a Laser 301, a device that purports to emit a one-watt laser beam, which is 2,000 times more powerful than what is legally permissible for a laser pointer.

Reports of laser attacks on aircraft have increased dramatically in recent years as powerful laser devices have become more affordable and widely available to the public. From 2011 to 2015, there have been over 23,000 laser illumination incidents in the United States reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 2015, in the Eastern District of California, which encompasses 34 counties in the eastern portion of California, there were 213 reported laser incidents. Lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations, endangering their crew members, passengers and people on the ground.

Sahagun is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on April 4, 2016. Sahagun faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The case against Sahagun was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If you have information about a lasing incident, or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call your local FBI field office or dial 911.

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Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

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