Several days ago I wrote about a JetBlue flight that diverted to Minneapolis due to a passenger who was snorting cocaine and acting inappropriately. This was on a New York to San Francisco flight, and the passenger was seated in JetBlue’s Mint business class.
This incident came to light because a reader was on the flight, and recorded a video of the captain standing in the cabin after the plane diverted to Minneapolis, providing a mighty detailed account of events that caused the diversion.
There are now a lot more details about what happened, as a criminal complaint has been filed against 42 year old Mark Scerbo. He is being charged with one count of possession of cocaine, which carries a maximum of three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000. He had 24.5 grams of cocaine on him at the time of the diversion (which he claimed was creatine).
I imagine he’ll also face a significant fine and/or possibly jail time with the FAA’s new zero-tolerance policy for poor inflight behavior, but that’s not part of this complaint.
This document contains even more details of what allegedly happened on that flight, and my gosh it’s wild. Here are the highlights of what’s being claimed:
- During the meal service, the passenger threw his food on the floor, grabbed a metal butter knife, and began walking up and down the aisle while holding the knife in a closed fist with the blade up
- When the flight attendant removed the passenger’s meal tray, she observed a bag containing a white powdery substance
- The passenger sang out loud, did yoga-like movements in people’s faces, and acted aggressively
- The passenger told his seatmate that he was a prophet named Genghis Khan, accused her of being in the CIA, and said he loved her; he talked to her about nano bots, angels, and a “peace army”
- When the passenger’s seatmate asked him if he was on drugs, he replied “of course not, look me in the third eye”
- The passenger went to the bathroom at least six times, sometimes bringing a butter knife and a large feather; at one point he was even seen snorting the substance at his seat, and getting it all over his mustache, face, and pants
- The seatmate was reseated because she didn’t feel safe, but then the passenger walked by her and patted her on the head
- When the passenger tried to get the attention of someone else in the cabin and was ignored, he repeatedly called him a “f*ggot,” and then threw playing cards at him while saying “suicide kings”
Also, one important point of clarification. When being questioned by authorities in Minneapolis, the man clarified that he claimed to be Toshi Nakamoto, the founder of a crypto currency, and not Genghis Khan. I’m inclined to believe him on that front, because when I was reading the complaint in regards to what he was talking about to his seatmate, I thought to myself “there’s no way he wasn’t talking about crypto.”
This isn’t the guy’s first drug-related run in with the law:
- He had a prior federal conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and was sentenced to 57 months in jail
- He was sentenced to an additional four months in jail for a supervised release violation
- He was convicted of introducing drugs into prison, and was sentenced to an additional 18 months in jail
What a story this is. When the flight diverted, the captain provided a play-by-play of what happened, in a way I’ve never seen done before. While his description ended up being pretty accurate (even though he was on the other side of the cockpit door), I’d say reality was even wilder.
I feel sorry for all the other passengers on the flight, as this must have been a legitimately scary situation. I hope this guy gets the help he needs, and isn’t allowed to terrorize passengers on another flight anytime soon.