Milwaukee Man Charges with Federal Offense Aiming a Laser Pointer at Law Enforcement Aircraft
Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on June 8, 2020, his office filed a federal criminal complaint against Jeremiah Belen (age: 38) of Milwaukee. The complaint charges Belen with aiming a laser beam at aircraft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 39A. If convicted, Belen would face a maximum of 5 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, from May 31, 2020, through June 7, 2020, there were several incidents of individuals pointing green laser beams at law enforcement aircraft operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and the Wisconsin National Guard (“WNG”). The beam is potentially blinding to pilots, and has the potential of creating a dangerous incident. On the evening of June 7, 2020, law enforcement agents on the ground observed two individuals near W. Chambers Street and N. 1st Street in the City of Milwaukee pointing a green laser beam at an FBI airplane. One of the individuals pointing the laser beam matched the description of Jeremiah Belen. On June 8, 2020, Belen was arrested and made an initial appearance in federal court.
The FBI investigated the case, which will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Honrath.
A criminal complaint is merely a formal method of charging an individual and does not constitute an inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government establishes his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.