Unlawful Use Of An Unmanned Aircraft At Local Industy

Lake Charles –

On March 3 at approximately 2:00 p.m., and again on March 16 at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) both received calls in reference to an unmanned aircraft (drone) flying over a local area industry. 

It is against Louisiana law to use an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance, gather or collect information, and photograph or record a targeted facility without prior written consent of the owner of the facility.  The statue 14:337 defines a targeted facility as petroleum refineries, chemical and rubber manufacturing facilities, and nuclear power electric generation facilities.  An unmanned aircraft system is defined as an unmanned powered aircraft that does not carry a human operator, it can be autonomous or remotely piloted or operated, and can be expendable or recoverable.  Whoever commits the crime of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system will be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.

 You may however, use an unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance, gather or collect information, and photograph or record your own property, which according to 14:337 is defined as located on your own immovable property, or located on immovable property owned by another under a valid lease, servitude, right-of-way, right of use, permit, license, or other right, provided you comply with applicable Federal Aviation Administration regulations.  The Federal Aviation Administration has regulations that apply to all aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, and irrespective of the altitude at which the aircraft is operating.   For example, 14 C.F.R. Sec. 91.13 prohibits any person from operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

If anyone has any information about the unlawful use of this unmanned aircraft flying over the local industry, please call Detective Joey Williams with the Joint Terrorism Task Force at (337) 263-4205.