Three men, all of Spain, were arrested for flying a drone over Valero Refinery in Norco.
Jose Antonio Losada-Membibre, 28, of 174 Felix Boix Madin, Spain; Angel Alberto Otero-Frias, 26, and Cristian Carlos, 28, both of 485 Avenida Ramon Nieto Vigo, Spain, were all arrested at the scene on River Road, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
A Valero representative who observed them flying the drone over the chemical plant contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
The three were each charged with unauthorized use of an unmanned aircraft.
In Louisiana, the law addresses the “intentional use of an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record a targeted facility without prior written consent of the owner of the targeted facility.”
By definition, a targeted facility includes petroleum and alumina refineries, chemical and rubber manufacturing facilities, nuclear power electric generation facilities and school premises.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi said the three were parked next to Gate 17 on River Road, where they operated the drone.
“They claimed to work for a film production company, but did not provide additional information about the company,” Grimaldi said. They also stated they were flying the drone recreationally.
Grimaldi said the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were both notified about the incident. The area where the three were flying the drone is a “no fly zone” that requires FAA permission to access.