Man charged with illegally flying drone over AFC championship game in Baltimore

A man was charged Monday with illegally flying a drone over M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore during the AFC championship game last month, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. 

Matthew Hebert, 44, from Pennsylvania, was hit with three felony counts for allegedly operating an unregistered drone, an incident that temporarily suspended the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, who went on the win 17-10, securing their place in the Super Bowl.

Authorities say Hebert violated the national defense airspace and operated the drone with a certificate. 

“Illegally operating drones poses a significant security risk that will lead to federal charges,” United States Attorney Erek L. Barron said in an announcement. “Temporary flight restrictions are always in place during large sporting events.”

If convicted, Hebert could face up to three years in prison for operating an unregistered drone and not having a certificate. He could also face up to one year in prison for breaching the United States National Defense Airspace.

His initial arrangement is scheduled for later this month, according to the press release. 

Hebert alleged said that he did not know about the restrictions.

While operating the drone, he took six photos and might have taken a video also, according to the affidavit. He was not aware that he disrupted the game until he was pressed by a trooper who came over to him during the game.

Drones cannot be flown within 3 miles of stadiums that have a 30,000-seat capacity during events, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The restriction applies an hour before the game starts and an hour after the games end.

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