Colorado Resident Admits to Causing Damage to Nevada Solar Array

Posted on: November 13, 2023, 11:47h. 

Last updated on: November 13, 2023, 11:47h.

The individual who drove a car through a fence at a solar power facility and started a fire has pleaded guilty in court in Las Vegas.

Mohammed Mesmarian
Mohammed Mesmarian in a mug shot, pictured above. He pled guilty last week in connection with damage to a solar complex in Nevada. (Image: LVMPD)

Mohammed Mesmarian, 35, a one-time Colorado dentist, entered guilty pleas to two reduced charges: second-degree arson and malicious destruction of property, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

Initially, he was charged with committing an act of terrorism, arson, destroying or injuring real or personal property of another, and escape by a felony prisoner for the Jan. 3 incident.

Emotional Illness

He’s also claiming he’s suffering from emotional illness, so a judge could order that he receives treatment for mental health issues.

Mesmarian is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18. He could head to prison or be given probation, KLAS reported.

Earlier this year, Mesmarian was ruled emotionally unfit for trial by Clark County District Court Judge Christy Craig, the Associated Press reported.

He was sent temporarily to a Nevada forensic psychiatric institution. Before the judge made the ruling, at least two psychiatrists examined Mesmarian.

His actions damaged a transformer and other infrastructure at the facility. Power was knocked out for weeks until repairs were made. When the power was out, MGM Resorts properties were able to find alternative sources of energy by turning to the grid.

Court Outburst

On Jan. 5, Mesmarian was arrested. He was located by police at a campground in Boulder Beach at Lake Mead.

Earlier this year, when he first appeared in court, Mesmarian blasted out, “There’s so much wrong in the whole system since I entered here. Nothing’s right. Just a bunch of Black people stuck in a room together.”

In a statement to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers, Mesmarian denied committing sabotage.

Complex Details

The complex where the incident took place is the Mega Solar Array facility. It’s located on U.S. 93, north of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The array is in the desert, some 25 miles from Las Vegas.

Chicago-based Invenergy operates the facility, and it provides power to 13 MGM Resorts properties.

The MGM Resorts Mega Array project — a key component of the gaming company’s long-term climate strategy — is the world’s largest renewable energy plant serving the gaming industry. It delivers 100 megawatts of power captured by 336K panels installed on 640 acres.

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