Nevada Power Plant Blaze: Colorado Man Sentenced After Initial Terror Attack Scare

Nevada witnessed the imposition of a prison sentence on Wednesday for Mohammed Reza Mesmarian, a 35-year-old Colorado resident, in connection with an incident in January involving the arson of his car at a remote facility. 

Initially, authorities labeled the act as a terror attack on the electric system supporting several prominent Las Vegas Strip casinos.

The sentencing, which took place in Clark County District Court before Judge Ronald Israel, resulted in Mesmarian receiving a two to 10-year prison term. 

This followed his November plea of guilty but mentally ill on charges related to felony arson and property destruction at a desert solar array situated approximately 25 miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas.

Mesmarian’s attorney, Jeffrey Nicholson, emphasized to The Associated Press that the incident was more a manifestation of personal struggles exacerbated by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a failed marriage, and business setbacks rather than an act of terrorism. 

Nicholson, seeking probation for his client, expressed satisfaction with the judge’s decision, deeming it “a good and fair decision.”

Having already spent close to a year in custody, Mesmarian may be eligible for parole as early as 2024. The 35-year-old, a dentist by profession from Aurora, Colorado, faced disciplinary actions from the Dental Board and had his practice license restricted in July 2022. 

Additionally, records revealed that Mesmarian filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2022. The current status of his dental license remains unknown.

Originally facing a litany of charges, including terrorism, arson, destruction of property, and escape, Mesmarian underwent months of legal proceedings before being deemed competent to stand trial.

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Mesmarian’s Arson Raises National Security Concerns

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Nevada witnessed the imposition of a prison sentence on Wednesday for Mohammed Reza Mesmarian, a 35-year-old Colorado resident, in connection with an incident in January involving the arson of his car at a remote facility.

The incident, which occurred on January 4, involved Mesmarian ramming his car through a fence, colliding with a transformer, igniting the vehicle, and calmly observing the flames for about 15 minutes before departing. 

Authorities discovered and arrested him a day later at a campground at Lake Mead, east of Las Vegas.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the fire that went undetected initially. 

Mesmarian’s actions unfolded just days after two individuals were apprehended for vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state. 

Additionally, it occurred a month after federal regulators ordered a review of security standards following shootings that damaged electric substations in North Carolina.

The targeted facility, the Mega Solar Array, operated by Chicago-based Invenergy, supplies power to several MGM Resorts International properties, including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Aria, and Park MGM. 

Despite the incident, the resort operator seamlessly transitioned to the statewide electric grid, with no impact on casino operations. 

Officials confirmed that the power facility was back in service within days.

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