Russian man who flew to LAX without ticket, passport convicted on federal charges

A Russian man who flew from Europe to LAX without a passport, visa, or plane ticket in November was found guilty of being a stowaway on an aircraft, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

The crime carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Evidence presented during the three-day trial found that Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, 46, tailgated an unsuspecting passenger through a security turnstile at Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. The next day, he successfully passed through the boarding gate undetected and stowed away on a Scandinavian Airlines flight to Los Angeles.

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During the flight, Ochigava stuck out to the cabin crew since he kept moving to unassigned seats, a news release said.

Once the flight landed at LAX, Ochigava could not pass through the immigration checkpoint at the airport since Customs and Border Protection officers noticed that he was not listed as a passenger on that Scandinavian Airlines flight or any upcoming international flight.

Ochigava had no passport, visa, or other travel document needed to enter the country.

Evidence also showed that he told CBP officers false and misleading information about why he traveled to the U.S., including officers that he had left his passport on the plane, a news release said.

Ochigava has been in federal custody since November and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 5.

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