published Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Man who shined laser on U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter gets prison

MCALLEN, Texas — A judge has sentenced a 28-year-old South Texas man to 1½ years in prison for pointing a green laser beam at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter.

Margarito Tristan III of Donna was sentenced Wednesday in McAllen. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez also ordered him to serve 2 years of supervised release upon completing his prison sentence.

Tristan pleaded guilty on July 1 to shining the laser pointer on the helicopter, which was involved in a night training operation March 7. He could have been sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.

During the sentencing, Alvarez expressed special concern not only for the lives of the pilots disoriented by the beam, but also for those who would have been endangered on the ground if the helicopter had crashed.

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