A man was charged Monday with illegally flying a drone over Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium during last month's AFC Championship game, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Matthew Hebert, 44, of Pennsylvania, was hit with three felony charges for allegedly operating an unregistered drone, an incident that led to the temporary suspension of the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, who won 17-10 to secure their spot in the tournament. Super Bowl.
Authorities say Hebert violated national defense airspace and operated the drone with a certificate.
“Illegally operating drones poses a significant security risk that will result in federal charges,” U.S. Attorney Eric L. Barron said in a statement. “Temporary flight restrictions are always imposed during large sporting events.”
If convicted, Hebert could face up to three years in prison on charges of operating an unregistered drone and failing to obtain a certificate. He could also face up to one year in prison for violating US national defense airspace.
His initial placement is scheduled for later this month, according to the press release.
Hibbert claimed he was not aware of the restrictions.
While operating the drone, he took six photos and possibly took a video as well, according to the affidavit. He did not know that he had disrupted the match until he was pressured by a soldier who came to him during the match.
Drones cannot fly within three miles of the 30,000-seat stadiums during events, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The restriction applies one hour before the start of the match and one hour after the end of the game.
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