Disruptive passenger on flight diverted to Anchorage pleads guilty to charges

Devin Kelly

A passenger whose disruptive behavior caused a commercial flight from Tokyo to New York to be diverted to Anchorage in February pled guilty to federal charges this week.

Court filings show that Nobuya Michael Ochinero, 38, agreed to plead guilty Thursday to one count of interfering with flight crew members and attendants. On the Feb. 10 All Nippon Airways flight from New York City, Ochinero had multiple drinks and became upset when flight attendants refused to serve him more, according to documents in the case.

When flight attendants and passengers tried to calm him, he screamed obscenities and tried to push or spit on them, federal investigators said. He was eventually restrained by zip-tie handcuffs, documents show, and the flight diverted to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

A later search of Ochinero's carry-on luggage turned up dozens of packets of pills, which Ochinero told federal investigators were used to treat conditions like psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Ochinero also told investigators he has dual citizenship in Japan and the United States.

According to the plea agreement, Ochinero will pay restitution to the airline.

He is scheduled to be sentenced July 7.