On September 6, 2016, Ethan Joseph Hernandez was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. Allegedly, during the night of May 21, 2016, Hernandez knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointer at a Tulsa Police Department Air Interdiction helicopter.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was enacted to modernize the Nation's aviation system and established a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft, or at the flight path of an aircraft. The criminal statute was included in response to a growing number of safety incidents in which pilots were being distracted and/or temporarily blinded by laser beams.
DOT-OIG is working this case jointly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Creek County, Oklahoma, Sheriff’s Office.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.