- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2014

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Authorities say a West Texas man has been arrested and charged with shining a laser on a helicopter flying overhead.

Don Ray Dorsett was arrested Friday in El Paso. If convicted, the 28-year-old El Paso man faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

No one was injured in the Jan. 4 incident. However, U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman said in a statement issued Friday that pointing lasers at aircraft poses a risk to flight crews, passengers and people on the ground. Consequently, it’s a federal crime.

In 2013, 3,960 laser strikes were reported, a 1,100% increase since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) started tracking the incidents in 2005.

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