NewsRussian man mysteriously boards LA flight without a ticket: A security loophole or a bizarre whim?

Russian man mysteriously boards LA flight without a ticket: A security loophole or a bizarre whim?

Airport officer, illustrative photo
Airport officer, illustrative photo
Images source: © Getty Images | Svitlana Hulko
9:44 AM EST, January 29, 2024, updated: 4:41 AM EST, March 7, 2024

On November 4th of the previous year, 46-year-old Russian Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigawa journeyed by plane from Copenhagen to Los Angeles despite the absence of a ticket, passport, or visa. The mysterious presence of this man at the American airport piqued the interest of law enforcement. An investigation was launched, and the FBI filed federal charges, accusing him of illegally bypassing security in Europe.

After multiple months, a jury convicted him of traveling ticketless, as reported by the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. As per CNN, the 46-year-old's penalty was a five-year prison sentence.

The man's memory was uncertain

The man's demeanor was notably peculiar from the outset. Airport workers testified that he frequently moved around the cabin during the flight, and tried reaching out to fellow passengers. Somehow, he consumed two meals in one cabin service and even attempted to eat a chocolate bar reserved for the staff.

His account revealed that he hadn't been able to sleep for three days and was unclear about the unfolding events. Uncertain if he held a ticket for the flight to the US, he was even unsure how he managed to board the plane or explain his presence there, but pointed out he was last in Copenhagen.

Upon inspection, customs found Russian and Israeli documents in his luggage. During subsequent FBI questioning, he shared that he possesses a Ph.D. in economics and marketing and had been employed as an economist in Russia.

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