Bakersfield man facing federal charges for using laser pointer on helicopter

The man struck a Kern County Sheriff’s Office pilot with a bright green laser.

A Bakersfield man has been charged with aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. 

Jesse Torres-Alonso, 35, faces the charges in federal court. 


Driving the news: Court documents state that Torres pointed a laser pointer at a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter 12 times on Sep. 28, 2023. 

  • Torres struck the helicopter with a dangerously bright green laser beam, which interfered with the pilot’s ability to see and avoid other aircraft and monitor the instrument panel. 
  • Law enforcement located and seized the laser pointer from Torres. 
  • Overall, the Federal Aviation Administration received 13,304 reports of laser strikes from pilots last year. That’s a 41 percent increase from 2022, signaling a growing hazard. 

What we’re watching: Torres faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. 

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