A man was sentenced Friday to 15 months in federal prison for pointing a laser at an Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter on patrol in Santa Ana.

An attorney for 35-year-old Mario Deleon Lopez, who pleaded guilty March 31, had sought a year-long sentence.

Lopez aimed the laser pointer at the helicopter the evening of Nov. 14, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Takla.

Pilots told investigators that a green laser illuminated the helicopter’s cockpit, and deputies and Santa Ana police traced it back to Lopez, the prosecutor said.

Authorities say a laser poses a serious risk to pilots as it can blind or distract them.

–City News Service

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