By Tom Momberg
Elehecer Balaguer, 54, surrendered to the FBI Monday and admitted to a Bronx Supreme Court judge to directing a powerful laser at planes around La Guardia Airport March 9, according to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District, which covers the Bronx.
Balaguer told the judge that the Police Department and government officials had wrongfully arrested Frank Egan on charges of assault, weapon possession and directing a laser at an aircraft, but it was he who had in fact owned and used the laser, sources at the U.S. attorney’s office said. Egan and Balaguer both live in the same apartment where police tracked the green light’s source.
Balaguer now faces up to five years in prison for admitting he aimed a powerful laser at an aircraft. The Bronx man previously denied knowing who shined the laser beam when interviewed by police on the date of the incident in which three pilots suffered eye injuries.
The case, initially investigated by the NYPD Aviation Unit, had been handed over to the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. attorney’s office, which is in charge of prosecution.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb