LOS ANGELES (AP) – A Russian man who boarded a flight from Denmark to Los Angeles in November without a passport or ticket told U.S.
authorities that he couldn’t remember how he got through a security checkpoint in Europe., according to a complaint filed by the federal government.F.B.I.
Sergei Vladimirovich Ochigawa arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on November 4th on Scandinavian Airlines Flight 931 from Copenhagen.The complaint, filed Nov.6 in federal court in Los Angeles, says U.S.Customs and Border Protection agents were unable to locate Ochigaba in the manifest or on other incoming international flights.
He was charged with stowaway on a plane and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on December 5th.The trial was scheduled for December 26th.The federal public defender representing Mr.Ochigaba, who remained in custody Tuesday, did not immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
During the flight’s departure, Ochigava occupied an unassigned seat, and as the plane took off, he continued to move around, changing seats and attempting to engage other passengers in conversation. However, fellow passengers ignored him, as reported by the flight crew to investigators.
He also “ate two meals per meal service and at one point attempted to eat chocolate that belonged to a flight attendant,” the complaint states.
Ochigaba did not have a passport or visa to enter the United States, officials said.
Federal officials said in court documents that when Customs and Border Protection agents searched his bag, they found “what appeared to be Russian identification and Israeli identification.” He also said a photo was found on his phone showing part of his passport with his name, date of birth and passport number, but the photo was never found.
The complaint alleges that Ochigaba “first provided false and misleading information to CBP regarding his travel to the United States, including telling CBP that he had left his U.S.passport on the plane.
Scandinavian Airlines confirmed that a “passenger-related incident” occurred on a flight from Copenhagen to the United States.
“This matter is being handled by the relevant authorities in both the United States and Denmark and we are unable to comment further.
”The airline said in a written statement.
He told officers that he may have had a ticket to enter the United States, but was not sure.The suspect also said he could not remember how he got past security in Copenhagen and did not explain what he had done in the Scandinavian city, according to the complaint.