June 19, 2007, - 3:58 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Early last year, I told you about a series of incidents–TWENTY-SIX of them!–in which laser pointers were pointed at pilots, attempting to distract them in take-off and landing from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. In addition, the laser pointers can also measure distances to the planes for, say, SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles). More about the laser pointer attacks here.
In the Detroit area, the 26 laser incidents were all traced to areas in Muslim-dominated Dearbornistan and Dearbornistan Heights. There were later rumors that arrests had been made. But we never heard about it again.
In the last few months, though, there have been laser pointer incidents involving pilots and planes in various locations from Hawaii and the Atlanta area–in that case, a police helicopter was targeted.
Now, one of the laser pointing perpetrators has been caught. Guess the religion.:
A Decatur man pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal agents about shining a laser at a police helicopter.
Mohammed Haghighi, 24, was stopped by DeKalb police after pilots of a DeKalb police helicopter said they saw him pointing a green laser which disoriented them near the Wesley Club Apartments on Feb. 4. He allegedly admitted using the laser to police who questioned him, but he denied it when he was questioned later by the FBI.
“Too many people think it is just a harmless prank when someone shines a laser device at a passing aircraft,” said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. “This is a dangerous misconception – pilots can be temporarily blinded and tragic accidents can occur.”
Um, I somehow doubt Mohammed Haghighi was thinking this was a harmless joke. I think it’s quite apparent there were more nefarious purposes.
Haghighi could be sentenced to probation or up to five years in prison. He is to be sentenced Aug. 22 by U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans.
Let’s hope they throw the book at this guy.
So who was arrested in the Detroit area laser pointer incidents? And why do I think there’s a Mohammed in the mix? And why–really–are they pointing lasers at our planes?
I mean, they are members of the “Religion of Peace,” right?
ATLANTA, GA – MOHAMMED HAGHIGHI, 24, of Decatur, Georgia, has been arrested on charges of lying to federal agents about targeting a DeKalb County Police Helicopter with a laser device. HAGHIGHI made his initial appearance in federal court in Atlanta this afternoon, where he was released on bond. . . .
According to the indictment, which was unsealed today: On February 4, 2007, a DeKalb County Police helicopter responded to a night-time call near the Wesley Club Apartments in Decatur. The pilots of the police helicopter were wearing night vision goggles. As the pilots sought out the crime scene, their helicopter was repeatedly targeted by a green laser beam emanating from somewhere in the Wesley Club apartment complex. When the laser beam struck the cockpit, it illuminated the entire cockpit glass and temporarily disoriented the pilots. The pilots eventually spotted an individual standing near a breezeway of the apartment complex. The green laser beam was emanating from something this individual was holding. While the pilots attempted to maintain visual contact with the individual with the laser, the individual continued targeting the helicopter.
The pilots called in DeKalb County Police ground units, who eventually located defendant MOHAMMED HAGHIGHI. These officers also found discarded in a nearby stairwell a hand-held laser with a green laser element. When confronted with this evidence by the DeKalb County Police, defendant HAGHIGHI allegedly claimed ownership of the laser and admitted to having targeted the police helicopter. However, on February 15, 2007, when federal agents from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed defendant HAGHIGHI about the helicopter laser incident, HAGHIGHI allegedly denied any role in the matter. After being informed that it is a federal crime to lie to federal agents, HAGHIGHI again denied any role in the matter.
The charges brought by the federal grand jury against HAGHIGHI carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. . . .
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, with assistance from the DeKalb County Police Department.
Gee, I wonder why the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was involved. I mean, these laser pointers are just an innocent joke committed by men named Mohammed. Right?
Thanks to reader Duane for the tip.
Tags: Atlanta, attorney, David E. Nahmias, Dearbornistan Heights, Decatur, DeKalb County Police, DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb police, Detroit, District Judge, FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, federal grand jury, Georgia, Hawaii, Laser, laser device, lasers, MOHAMMED HAGHIGHI, Orinda Evans, United States, Wesley Club, Wesley Club apartment complex