A Central California man convicted of pointing a high-powered laser at a police helicopter was sentenced Monday to spend 14 years in federal prison, a term prosecutors believe to be among the region's longest for such a crime.
Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, 26, of Clovis, was accused of pointing a green laser 13 times more powerful than common pointers at a Fresno Police Department helicopter in 2012. The helicopter had been called to an apartment complex where an emergency helicopter for a children's hospital also reported being targeted by a laser. Prosecutors said Rodriguez purposely aimed his laser at police.
"This is not a game," U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said in a statement. "It is dangerous, and it is a felony."
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