Man Detained in the Las Vegas Solar-Array Attack Will Take Competence Tests
By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, January 11, 2023 9:43 am
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (702 Times, NV Globe) – Last week, a man was detained in connection with what the authorities described as a terror attack on a solar power plant serving Las Vegas Strip casinos. On Tuesday, the man became verbally disruptive in court, and his lawyer asked the judge to set up a competency evaluation before he was charged with multiple felonies.
Before being led by bailiffs out of Las Vegas Justice Court, Mohammed Reza Mesmarian, 34, who was sat in shackles with other inmates, disrupted another case by lamenting a “broken” court system.
Mesmarian, who skipped court after being detained last week, reappeared on Tuesday for a quick first court hearing on counts of terrorism, arson, property damage, and escape. The incident’s specifics weren’t given.
Mesmarian asked Justice of the Peace Nadia a final question, Wood, “OK. What are we going to do about the things I was talking about?” The judge didn’t answer.
Mesmarian’s lawyer, Nick Pitaro, requested that his client undergo a mental health examination, and Wood agreed. Mesmarian was to be detained without bond while doctors’ reports were being evaluated, and he was to appear before a state court judge on January 31 to discuss them.
Pitaro declined to comment outside of court or name the guy and lady he spoke with and left the courthouse with.
The lawyer added, “Given the nature of the matter, I would want to make no comment.”
Mesmarian is charged with smashing a car through a fence enclosing a solar array approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of the center of Las Vegas and igniting it close to an electric transformer at the crack of dawn on January 4.
Bellagio, MGM Grand, Aria, and Park MGM are just a some of the MGM Resorts International-managed properties that are served by this plant, which transferred to the state’s energy grid on Tuesday, according to company spokesperson Brian Ahern.
Sandra Breault, a spokesperson for the FBI in Las Vegas, admitted the agency was involved in the case as a member of a local Joint Terrorism Task Force, but she claimed Las Vegas police were in charge of the investigation. She chose not to remark on Mesmarian’s situation.
Mesmarian was detained on January 5 in Boulder City, according to Las Vegas police.
Two laptop computers and an iPhone with a Mesmarian account were discovered by police in the burned-out car.
According to police, the Mega Solar Array facility’s operator, Chicago-based Invenergy, alerted authorities of damage before midday on January 4. No one was hurt, the facility was anticipated to resume full operations this week, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday after shutting down plant operations as a precaution.
Within a 1-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometer) desert area close to Interstate 15 and U.S. 93, the power facility features more than 300,000 solar panels. With a 100 megawatt capacity, or around 27,000 U.S. houses’ worth of electricity, it started operating in 2021.
The incident in Nevada occurred a month after federal regulators requested a review of security measures and just days after two individuals were detained and accused with damaging electrical substations in Washington state.
at the country’s transmission system for power.
Following gunshots in North Carolina that destroyed two electric substations and resulted in more than 45,000 customers losing power, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took action in December.
Attacks in Oregon and Washington that started in late November targeted at least four electrical substations, cutting out power to consumers. At least a few of those events included attackers who were armed. Portland General Electric, the Bonneville Power Administration, and Puget Sound Energy, the three impacted utilities, claimed they were collaborating with the FBI.
Critical infrastructure in the United States was included as one of the potential “targets of potential violence” in a national terrorist alert bulletin sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on November 30.
Credits: FOX 5 VEGAS
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