MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 19-year-old woman was arrested Monday for allegedly pointing a green laser at a Miami-Dade Police Department helicopter, authorities said.
Yeneisy Valdera, of Doral, faces one count of misuse of a laser lighting device.
According to her arrest report, an aviation officer requested assistance from officers on the ground just after 1 a.m. Monday after the laser was pointed at the aircraft in the area of Northwest 183rd Street and 57th Avenue.
The pilot was flying a Miami-Dade police helicopter for an unrelated incident when the illegal beam of light hit the cockpit.
“The pilot was struck in the eye with a laser beam,” said Miami-Dade Police Det. Alvaro Zabaleta. “He was able to look down and identify the vehicle where this laser was coming from.”
Police said after the aviation officer was able to pinpoint the vehicle that the laser came from, officers on the ground pulled the vehicle over on 183rd Street and 48th Avenue.
Valdera was sitting in the rear left passenger side of the vehicle, authorities said.
Police said the aircraft’s camera showed Valdera pointing the laser at it. The laser was confiscated as evidence.
Valdera was held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. She has since bonded out of jail.
“They don’t recognize there are grave consequences to these actions, and it’s no game,” Zabaleta said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, laser-pointing incidents are on the rise.
The FAA confirmed that 9,723 laser incidents were reported in 2021, up from 6,852 in 2020. This is the highest reported number of incidents ever reported to the FAA.