Russian Man Who Flew To US Without Passport Or Ticket Convicted Of Federal Crime

Russian Man Who Flew To US Without Passport Or Ticket Convicted Of Federal Crime

A sentencing hearing has been set for February 5

A Russian man who flew to the US without a visa, passport, or ticket has been found guilty in a United States federal court of being a stowaway on an aircraft, reported BBC. Sergey Ochigava, 46, was convicted by a jury in a California court on Friday.

According to court documents, Mr Ochigava, a Russian-Israeli dual national, departed Copenhagen on a Scandinavian Airlines flight and landed at Los Angeles International Airport on November 4, in 2023. He had no passport or visa, and officials also couldn’t find him on the passenger list for any flights. He was subsequently arrested and has been in custody since November. 

He faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 5. 

Investigators say that he gave “false and misleading” information about how he arrived in the US, including telling them that he had just left his passport on the plane. 

According to the flight crew, most of them noticed Mr Ochigava on the flight, saying that he wandered around the plane and kept changing his seat. He allegedly asked for two meals during each meal service, and at one point attempted to eat the chocolate that belonged to members of the cabin crew.

When officials searched his bag, they found what appeared to be Russian and Israeli identification cards, but no passport.

The suspect, in an interview, told an FBI agent that he was confused, had not slept for three days, and couldn’t remember how he boarded a plane without a ticket, boarding pass, or passport.

”Ochigava had a Ph. D in economics and marketing. He last worked as an economist in Russia a long time ago. He claimed he had not been sleeping for three days and did not understand what was going on. Ochigava stated he might have had a plane ticket to come to the United States, but he was not sure,” FBI Agent Caroline Walling wrote.

“He did not remember how he got on the plane in Copenhagen. He also would not explain how or when he got to Copenhagen or what he was doing there. When asked how he got through security in Copenhagen, Ochigava claimed he did not remember how he went through security without a ticket,” she added. 

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