Two men were arrested Sunday night after they allegedly pointed a laser at a California Highway Patrol aircraft in the Rancho Cordova area.
The CHP aircraft was patrolling the area around Bradshaw and Old Placerville roads in the late evening, when the aircraft was struck by a laser discharged by someone on the ground, according to a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department news release. The pilot was led sheriff’s deputies and Rancho Cordova police officers to the suspects.
Deputies found and arrested Haik Kurdoglanyan, 25, and Artem Sargsyan, 34, on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft, which is a felony. Sheriff’s officials said a high-powered laser was located during the arrest.
Sheriff’s officials cited a 2014 FBI report, which notes that a powerful beam from a hand-held laser on the ground can travel more than a mile and illuminate a cockpit, disorienting and temporarily blinding pilots. Those who have been subject to such attacks have described them as the equivalent of a camera flash going off in a pitch-black car at night.
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The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 specifically made it a federal felony to knowingly point the beam of a laser at an aircraft and lowered the threshold for prosecution.