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Man Who Impersonated Army General, Picked Up A Date In A Helicopter Sentenced
Christian Desgroux, the North Carolina auto mechanic who posed as a U.S. Army general and piloted a helicopter to the SAS campus in Cary to impress a woman, received a 6-month sentence in federal prison Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.
U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle handed down the sentence in Raleigh after Desgroux’s guilty plea in June. The 58-year-old was also sentenced to a year of supervised release.
He had faced a maximum sentence of three years and a $250,000 fine.
In February, an agent with the Department of Homeland Security testified Desgroux took a helicopter to SAS headquarters in November, wearing a battle dress uniform and identifying himself as an Army lieutenant general. He told security officers that he was picking up a female employee on orders of President Trump.
While at the SAS campus in Cary, Desgroux told security officers that he had come to take the woman to a classified meeting at Fort Bragg, then flew away with her for approximately 30 minutes before returning to Cary, agent Tony Bell said.
When he later interviewed the employee, Bell testified, she said she assumed Desgroux, then 57, was trying to impress her and start a romantic relationship.
“She said they did nothing,” Bell said in February. “They flew around for 30 minutes. She had no idea he was flying a helicopter to pick her up.”
Bell testified that Desgroux had chartered the helicopter out of Charlotte and told the pilot he had authorization to land at SAS. When it touched down on the software company’s soccer field, Bell said, Desgroux immediately jumped out wearing a uniform and combat patches and three stars, though he had never served in the U.S. Army.
“He saluted the security officers,” Bell said. “They actually saluted him back.”
The woman later told Bell that she had known Desgroux for about 20 years. She knew he was coming to SAS that day but expected him to come by car. They were planning to meet an attorney, Bell said, apparently to seek a patent about a prototype Desgroux had been developing.
But the woman told Bell that Desgroux had been having marital problems and must have assumed she had similar issues because she and her husband live apart.
Bell interviewed the pilot, who said he and Desgroux flew to Durham to refuel after dropping the employee back at SAS. Desgroux told the pilot that he wanted to take a future trip to the Pentagon, Bell said.
Their flight to SAS was the second Desgroux had chartered. Earlier in 2017, Desgroux chartered a helicopter to Jacksonville – again wearing an Army uniform – and had the pilot land at a KOA Kampground so he could meet briefly with a woman there. On that trip, Bell said, Desgroux stated his desire to land a helicopter on an aircraft carrier in Norfolk. He also described himself as a pilot who had flown Apache helicopters during the Gulf War.
Desgroux was born in Chile and became a U.S. citizen in 2016, Bell said. He came to the United States in 1978, moved to Raleigh in 1980 and has had legal status for his entire stay.
He has worked as a mechanic out of his garage on Mt. Vernon Church Road in far north Raleigh, not far from Falls Lake.
©2018 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.
The 7-day "reduction in violence" negotiated between the United States and the Taliban is set to begin on Feb. 22, an Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Task & Purpose on Monday.
A temporary truce beginning on Saturday that would last for one week is seen as a crucial test between the Taliban, U.S., and Afghan governments that would prove all parties to a potential peace deal can control their forces. Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to confirm the date on Sunday.
"That is a moving date because we are still doing consultations, if you will," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters.