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Texas man convicted of shining laser at aircraft

A federal jury has convicted a West Texas man of shining a laser at a helicopter flying overhead.

Don Ray Dorsett had been arrested was arrested Feb. 14 in El Paso. With Thursday's conviction in El Paso, the 28-year-old El Paso man faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he's sentenced Oct. 2.

No one was injured in the Jan. 4 incident involving a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter. However, U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman has said 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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