A deputy US marshal was en route from NYC to London to extradite a criminal defendant.
According to police and Delta, he got drunk on the flight and inappropriately touched a passenger.
He is now in custody after being arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
A deputy US marshal who was en route to London for the extradition of a criminal defendant is now in custody after being accused of sexually assaulting a passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight on Wednesday.
NBC News cited four law enforcement officials in its report, which said that the unnamed federal marshal had been accused of inappropriately touching a female passenger on the flight from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.
A spokesperson for Delta confirmed an incident took place in an email sent to Business Insider.
"Due to unruly passenger behavior while in flight, Delta Flight 1, JFK to London-Heathrow, was met by local law enforcement upon landing and Delta is cooperating with their investigation," the spokesperson said.
According to two law enforcement officials who spoke to NBC News, the marshal had been drinking during the flight.
He and a colleague were heading to London to bring a suspect facing federal fraud-related charges back to Brooklyn, the news outlet reported.
London's Metropolitan Police told Business Insider in an email that it received reports at 6.30 a.m. that a passenger on board the flight had been disruptive.
The police spokesperson said the man "sexually assaulted other passengers and crew."
He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and taken into custody, where he remains, police said.
NBC News reported that the second marshal, who is not facing any charges, was sent back to New York the same day.
The US Marshals Service said in a statement provided to BI that it was aware that an officer had "engaged in serious alleged misconduct while intoxicated on an inbound flight from New York City (JFK) on December 5, 2023."
It added that the allegations of misconduct are being taken seriously and that the USMS is cooperating with UK law enforcement officials and other relevant agencies.
BI's Sebastian Cahill reported this summer that cases of "unruly passengers" on planes have been on the rise this year.
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