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Security scare as Russian man with no passport or ticket ends up in US, Fbi says


A Russian man traveled from Denmark to Los Angeles without any passport or ticket, U.S. authorities discovered following an FBI complaint.

The FBI filed a complaint against Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, charging him with being a stowaway. The defendant pled not guilty at his arraignment.

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles federal court, states that Ochigava boarded a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen and reached California before a customs officer discovered he was not listed on the flight manifest or any incoming international flights.

The airline acknowledged that staff aboard the flight had “a situation regarding a passenger” but insisted the matter “is being handled by relevant authorities both in [the] U.S. and Denmark, and we cannot comment any further.”

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Air traffic is seen on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 25, 2022. A Russian man who flew on a plane from Denmark to Los Angeles on Nov. 4, 2023, without a passport or ticket told U.S. authorities he didn’t remember how he got through security in Europe, according to a federal complaint filed in November by the FBI. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes/File)

The crew did reveal to investigators that Ochigava was given a seat that was supposed to be unoccupied. After takeoff, he kept wandering around the plane, switching seats and trying to talk to other passengers.

He also ate two meals during each meal service on the nearly 12-hour flight and attempted to “eat the chocolate that belonged to members of the cabin crew.”

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Scandinavian Airlines flight

An aircraft of Scandinavian Airlines SAS takes off at Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup, Denmark, on May 24, 2023. (Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Ochigava “gave false and misleading information about his travel to the United States, including initially telling U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers that he left his U.S. passport on the airplane,” the complaint said. 

Ochigava, among his many claims, told authorities that he had a doctorate in economics and marketing and had last worked as an economist in Russia.

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CBP officers said Ochigava only had Russian identification cards and an Israeli identification card on him. (CBP)

He also said he had not slept for three days and did not understand what was happening. CBP officers said Ochigava only had Russian identification cards and an Israeli identification card in his possession.

Ochigava reportedly said he might have a plane ticket but couldn’t produce one when questioned by authorities.

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The man’s apparent confusion made it difficult to ascertain how he ended up on the flight and how he managed to pass through airport security in Copenhagen seemingly without any ticket, according to authorities.

Ochigava is to stand trial starting Dec. 26 with a public defender representing him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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