FBI: Man whose violence, screaming forced jet landing in Anchorage drank heavily, had psychiatric meds

Devin Kelly

The passenger whose "berserk" behavior caused a commercial jetliner flight from Tokyo to New York City to be diverted to Anchorage early Monday told federal investigators he had multiple drinks during the flight, according to federal charges unsealed Tuesday.

Nobuya Michael Ochinero, 38, was arrested by federal agents and police officers at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and interviewed by FBI agents at 1:15 a.m. on Monday, according to a sworn statement filed in court from agent Angela M. Strause.

A search of his carry-on luggage also turned up dozens of packets of pills, which Ochinero told investigators were used to treat conditions like psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Strause said in the statement.

When Ochinero was taken to the Anchorage jail around 3:41 a.m. Monday he had a blood alcohol level of 0.137, Strause said. That's above the legal limit to drive.

Witnesses said Ochinero seemed volatile from the start of the 12.5-hour All Nippon Airways flight, and crew members and passengers eventually resorted to using zip-tie handcuffs to restrain the man, according to the affidavit.

"He was berserk from the moment he got on the plane. He was yelling and screaming, spitting on the floor. He was smacking the back of my seat and other passengers' seats," Chuck Lustig, a Human Rights Watch deputy executive director who was seated in front of the man, told the Daily News on Monday.

After his arrest, Ochinero told investigators he had about four shots of "straight gin" and two beers during the flight, and that he "became upset and yelled at the flight attendants when they refused to serve him more alcohol," the affidavit said. One flight attendant told investigators that Ochinero had two double shots of gin and one beer. She also said he pulled her scarf, which was tied around her neck, and began screaming obscenities in her face when she refused to serve him more alcohol.

Another crew member said Ochinero struck her twice and pushed her as she tried to calm him down, the affidavit said.

Ochinero told investigators he "pushed" the flight attendants because "I didn't want them to touch me," the affidavit said.

Passengers said Ochinero screamed obscenities and racial slurs and tried to push or spit on other passengers as they attempted to restrain him, the affidavit said. One passenger, who was seated to the left of Ochinero, told investigators she watched him pull items out of the seat pocket in front of him and throw them at people sitting around him.

Ochinero, according to the passenger, "hit the seat in front of him so hard he caused the tray table to break," the affidavit said.

Ochinero was booked at Anchorage Correctional Complex at 3:41 a.m. Monday and is being charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants, according to the affidavit.

He said he has dual citizenship in Japan and the United States, the affidavit said.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.