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Man charged with flying drone near Super Bowl location

February 5, 2021 GMT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man faces up to a year in federal prison for flying a drone near the location of the upcoming Super Bowl, officials said.

Henry Alejandro Jimenez, 33, of Orlando, was charged Wednesday with violating national defense airspace, according to a criminal complaint.

As part of the security plan for Super Bowl LV, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction Wednesday covering an area around Tampa. That’s where the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to play in the championship game Sunday night.

According to the complaint, FBI agents saw a drone flying Wednesday in downtown Tampa, several miles from the stadium, and then located Jimenez, the drone’s operator. Jimenez told agents that he is an FAA-licensed drone pilot and he was aware of the temporary flight restriction, prosecutors said.

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A review of the drone’s flight path showed it had traveled over a park that was hosting public events related to the Super Bowl. Investigators said Jimenez also operated his drone without maintaining uninterrupted visual contact, as required by FAA regulations.

Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Jimenez.