High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
A Hillsborough County man faces big fines for his alleged use of a cellphone jamming device on Interstate Four.
"The moral issue is that it's just very dangerous," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon.
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued Jason R. Humphreys of Seffner a notice of apparent liability, which means he now faces a $48,000 fine for allegedly operating an illegal cell phone jamming device in his vehicle for nearly two years.
"He acquired this cellphone jammer and was literally jamming phones as he traveled down the interstate as well as jamming cell towers," said McKinnon.
According to the FCC, in 2013 their enforcement bureau received a complaint from Metro PCS about interference to their Tampa cell towers during the morning and evening commute times.
Using sophisticated interference detection techniques, agents pinpointed the problem to Humphrey's blue SUV. With the help of the Sheriff's Office, agents pulled Humphreys over, but the report makes note that as they got close they experienced interruption to their two-way portable radios.
According to deputies, Humphreys admitted that he had been using a cellphone jammer in his car for the past 16 to 24 months. He kept it behind the seat cover on the passenger side, making it impossible for anyone - even emergency responders - to use their phones when he was around.
"He indicated on the day that we stopped him that he was pretty much fed up with watching cellphone usage while people were driving," said McKinnon.
Unless you are an authorized federal government user, it is illegal to market, sell, import, or use a signal jammer in the United States.
Authorities seized Humphreys' device. The next day the cellphone company reported that the problems had stopped.
Humphreys has 30 days to either pay the full amount of the proposed forfeiture, $48,000, or file a written response with the FCC.
According to McKinnon, HCSO also filed charges against Humphreys directly with the State Attorney's Office.
ABC Action News' attempts to speak with Humphreys on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
To read the full FCC enforcement action against Humphreys go to http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2014/db0429/FCC-14-55A1.pdf