Federal jury convicts man of aiming laser pointer at helicopter; man faces 5 years in prison

EL PASO, Texas - A federal jury has convicted a 28-year-old El Paso man of pointing a laser at a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter.

Don Ray Dorsett, 28, faces up to five years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for October 2, 2014, before United States District Judge David C. Guaderrama in El Paso.

Evidence presented at trial showed that on Jan. 4, 2014, Dorsett knowingly aimed the beam of his laster pointer at the helicopter flying overhead.

Earlier this year, the FBI announced the inception of the Laser Threat Awareness Campaign, a nationwide effort led by the FBI in collaboration with the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA) and the FAA to raise awareness of aircraft laser illumination threats.

In February 2012, President Barack Obama signed the "FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012" and added a new provision that makes it a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. Yesterday afternoon, jurors convicted Dorsett of violating that provision (Title 18 United States Code Section 39A-Aiming a Laser Pointer at an Aircraft).

If you have information about a lasing incident, contact the El  Paso FBI at 915-832-5000. If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call the nearest local law enforcement agency immediately by dialing 911. Tips can also be submitted online at

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