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Sacramento Drone Pilot Arrested for Dropping Leaflets Over NFL Games

SANTA CLARA (AP) — Authorities say they arrested Tracy Michael Mapes for allegedly flying a drone over two NFL games in Northern California Sunday.

Santa Clara police cited and released the 55-year-old Sacramento man after he allegedly attempted to drop political leaflets over NFL crowds attending San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders games.

Santa Clara Police Lt. Dan Moreno said federal and local laws prohibit drone flights near NFL games because of safety and security concerns. Moreno said authorities are considering adopting additional measures to prevent drone flights during NFL games, but declined to discuss details.

Moreno said Mapes was arrested in Oakland after authorities spotted a drone over that city’s stadium shortly after the Santa Clara flight.

The leaflets talked about free speech and his belief that television stations are corrupt, according to Moreno.

Most of the drone-dropped leaflets were carried away by the wind, landing far from the football games.

It is illegal to fly a drone within five miles of an airport, and both Levi’s Stadium and the Coliseum are within five miles of airports.

Mapes didn’t respond to an email inquiry sent through Facebook Monday.