Texas authorities have accused Space X of breaking state law by blocking entry to public roads around its Boca Chica rocket facility.
In a letter sent Friday to Shyamal Patel, senior director of Starship operations at the aerospace company, Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz accused Space X of obstructing a public highway, a misdemeanor offense, and of impersonating a public servant, a felony, for employing private security guards to enforce the closures.
Saenz said his office had received a complaint that Space X had been denying public access to Joanna Street and Remedios Avenue, two roads adjacent to the company's launch control center, and had sent an official to investigate, according to the letter obtained by KRGV reporter Rudy Mireles.
Texas officials warned that Space X is breaking the law by blocking public roads around its Boca Chica rocket facility (pictured)
The roads in question run adjacent to Space X's launch control center on the site
When the official turned onto one of the roads, Saenz said a Space X security guard approached, stopped and detained them, and announced that they would have to turn around.
Saenz said the official from his office told both the guard and his supervisor that neither the Cameron County Sheriff or Cameron County Commissioner's Court had authorized them to close the road.
'This conduct is unacceptable. And I strongly believe you, Mr. Patel and Space-X, also knew it was unacceptable,' he wrote, noting that Cameron County had separately warned Space X that it did not have the authority to close the roads.
Saenz also claimed that neither the guard nor the facility's head of security held a Texas Security License, which is required for any armed security in the state.
Space X has been working out of the beachside Texas hamlet since 2014
'While Space-X is a valued member of our community, this does not authorize Space-X, its employees, staff, agents, and/or contractors to disregard Texas Law,' he wrote.
He added that both the security guard his official encountered could be arrested and Space X could face prosecution as well should a similar incident occur again.
Space X did not return a request for comment, and a spokeswoman for the Cameron County District attorney said the office had no further comment.
Last week's encounter was not the first time Space X has butted heads with both local and federal agencies.
On Tuesday it was revealed that it had ignored at least two Federal Aviation Administration warnings that the launch of one of its prototype rockets last December might not be safe.
It's not the first time Space X has butted heads against the authorities for its activities at the Boca Chica facility. Last December the company ignored FAA warnings that the launch of one of its prototype rockets could be dangerous. Pictured above is prototype SN15, which successfully launched and landed last month
The FAA had warned that if the SN8 prototype rocket had exploded its shockwave could be strengthened by weather conditions like wind speed, and endanger nearby homes.
The warnings were based on launch-weather modelling software according to new documents, which were seen by the Verge.
Space X ignored the warnings, and the rocket did explode after crash-landing, but debris from the explosion did not damage any property outside of the Space X facility.
Space X CEO Elon Musk at the ground breaking of the Boca Chica facility. It's not clear what, if any role, he had in the road closures around the facility
Space X did not receive any penalties for the violation, and continued to launch further prototypes, most recently SN15, which launched and landed successfully.
Additionally, Space X has pursued efforts to push the remaining residents in Boca Chica out since moving there in 2014, with offers to purchase their homes for as much as three times their market value, according to Business Insider.
The plan is to create a so-called 'rocket resort,' around the facility, but it has run into road blocks, with a sizable number of hold outs still residing in the area.