Convicted Gunrunner Gets Jail For Pointing Laser At Police Helicopter

by Alex Lloyd Gross


April 7 2022


Raji Yusuf, 36, of Philadelphia, PA was on supervised release from a conviction for traffiking  guns. Apparently , he does not like police and  he thought it would  be a good idea to shine a laser  at a police helicopter  in June of 2021.

The helicopter was  flying near the Roosevelt Mall when Yusuf  pointed the green laser at the aircraft. That was a federal offense and he quickly found out that he was in trouble. After the pilot and crew lost their vision temporarily,  they were able to find him in the malls parking lot once their vision returned. They then radioed ground units. Those officers arrested him and found the laser pointer.  Yusuf was on federal supervision for trafficking in firearms.

He found out his fate today  when he was sentenced to one year in federal custody for that incident. He will also pay a $1000 fine and  then be on federal probation for three years.

There is a reason that aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal offense – the consequences for those onboard and anyone in the vicinity could be disastrous,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Let this be a warning to anyone who might consider trying something similar: you could face serious federal prison time as a result.”

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft risks the safety of those onboard, as well as people on the ground. If a pilot’s vision is compromised, it could prove disastrous,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Mr. Yusuf made an extraordinarily bad decision — and did so while on federal supervision for his previous offense. This sentence not only holds him appropriately accountable, it shows how seriously we take it when someone uses a laser pointer in such a reckless and risky way.”