Colorado dentist fires at solar plant near Las Vegas that is unfit for testing

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada judge has not ordered a Colorado dentist to stand trial after his arrest last month in what authorities described as a terrorist attack on a solar power facility that served casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

Nick Pitaro, attorney for Mohammad Reza Mesmarian, said Wednesday that two psychiatrists found his client incapable of understanding the criminal charges against him, including terrorism, arson, vandalism and escape.

Clark County District Court Judge Christy Craig ordered Mesmarian, 34, to remain in custody at a Nevada psychiatric facility. pending further evaluationsaid Pitaro.

Mesmarian is accused of driving the car through a fence and setting it on fire in the early hours of Jan. 4 on a sunny lot in the desert northeast of Las Vegas. He was later arrested in a recreational vehicle at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The alleged attack follows several incidents and arrests involving power substations in states including washington, Oregon and North Carolina and federal authorities’ concerns about security of the country’s electricity transmission network.

Police said Mesmarian denied attempting an act of sabotage; told investigators he was a proponent of renewable and clean energy; said he thought the solar array was a Tesla facility connected to the “grid”; and his actions “represented going forward in the world.”

The array, owned by Chicago-based Invenergy, serves several Las Vegas Strip properties managed by MGM Resorts International. A casino company official said the properties switched to statewide power, and hotel guests and gamblers were unaffected.

Mesmarian lived in Aurora, Colorado, where public records showed he was disciplined by the dental board and had his dental license suspended last July. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October, court records show.

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