Sunday, June 23, 2024

Suspected smuggler flies from Denmark to Los Angeles without ticket or passport

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image source, AFP (via Getty Images)

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The suspected smuggler boarded a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles.

U.S. authorities have charged a man with stowaway after disembarking from a plane in Copenhagen in Los Angeles without a ticket or passport.

According to newly released indictment documents, the suspect, Sergei Ochigawa, 46, had Israeli and Russian ID cards, but his nationality is currently unknown.

Officials said the suspect made no attempt to hide on the plane and tried to chat with other passengers during the 12-hour journey.

He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.

After arriving in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, Mr. Ochigaba initially told U.S. customs officials that he had left his passport on the plane, but his passport was never found.

Authorities could find no record of him booking a flight to the United States or applying for an entry visa.

“I may have had a plane ticket…but I wasn’t sure,” Ochigaba said in an interview with U.S. investigators, according to the federal indictment.

He went on to explain that he had no recollection of being on the Scandinavian Airlines flight to the United States, had not slept for three days, and had no idea how he got through security at the Danish airport. .

Officials also were unable to determine how he came to Denmark in the first place before leaving for the United States.

He said the last time he worked as an economist in Russia was “a long time ago.”

Airline crew members said he moved around the plane multiple times and changed seats. They did not realize they were flying with additional passengers until they were contacted by investigators.

According to the indictment, Mr. Ochigaba “demanded two meals during each meal service and at one point attempted to eat chocolate that belonged to the flight attendant.”

One flight attendant told investigators, “It seemed like he was trying to talk to other passengers on the plane, but most of the passengers ignored him.”

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