Bakersfield Man Indicted for Laser Strikes on Sheriff Helicopter

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FRESNO, CALIFORNIA — Andrew Nathan Hernandez, 18, of Bakersfield, was arrested today for aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, on Dec. 26, 2020, Hernandez aimed the beam of a laser pointer at the Kern County Sheriff’s helicopter Air-1. Hernandez is scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Hernandez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charge is only an allegation; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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