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One of Anchorage 'air rage twins' faces Michigan heroin charge

  • Author:
  • Updated: September 29, 2016
  • Published December 13, 2010

Cynthia Mikula, one of the twin sisters arrested in Anchorage in 2001 after their alcohol-fueled fighting aboard a United Airlines jet forced its landing here, has been arrested on a heroin charge near her hometown in Michigan, reports The Grand Rapids Press.

Cynthia Mai Mikula, 31, was picked up by police on Saturday after dispatchers received a 4:30 p.m. call that someone was using drugs near the BP gas station [in Wyoming, Mich.].

She was arraigned In Wyoming District Court, charged with two counts of drug possession -- one for possession of less than 25 grams of heroin.

Mikula garnered national attention in April 2001 when she and her twin sister, Crystal, were arrested by federal authorities in Alaska after disrupting a United Airlines flight headed for Shanghai.

The women, then 22, told The Press they were on their way to a modeling competition in China.

The sisters eventually admitted their air rage guilt in a plea deal in Anchorage and were fined and sentenced to community service. Both have continued to have run-ins with the law over the years. Here's a 2001 ADN story on the sisters' detour to Anchorage.

When sisters fight, whole 747 suffers

By Molly Brown And Peter Porco

Anchorage Daily News

Identical twins on a flight to China, purportedly for a modeling competition, cursed, screamed and brawled with each other and the flight crew Thursday, causing such a ruckus that pilots diverted the jet to Anchorage.

The 22-year-old sisters, Crystal and Cynthia Mikula of Buckley, Mich., were each charged with interfering with a flight crew Friday, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.

The twins and 231 other passengers were three hours into a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Shanghai on Thursday when they ordered several alcoholic drinks, according to the FBI.

What followed was a ''donnybrook at 36,000 feet, '' said FBI Special Agent Eric Gonzalez.

The Mikulas began yelling cuss words and physically fighting with each other, according to an FBI affidavit attached to the criminal complaint. They got out of their seats to use the bathroom numerous times, and at one point came out of the same bathroom together. A passenger who then used the bathroom smelled cigarette smoke and perfume, according to the FBI.

The twins continued to scream and yell profanity at each other and nearby passengers, according to the FBI. And they got up to use the bathroom again.

At that point, Cynthia Mikula told her sister that she needed to leave the plane and threatened to open a door, according to the FBI.

''I've gotta get out of here. Let me off this airplane. I've gotta smoke. You've gotta open this door, '' she said.

One of 18 flight attendants on board tried to calm the girls, but Cynthia Mikula struck her on the nose, causing it to bleed. The flight attendant -- who later told an FBI agent the punch ''hurt like hell'' -- left the twins near the bathrooms.

One of the four pilots then escorted the sisters to their assigned seats and sat in the aisle seat next to them. Cynthia Mikula, in the window seat, eventually reached over her sister and punched the captain on the head, the FBI said.

The pilot then left the girls alone.

Another flight attendant tried to calm the twins, but Cynthia Mikula struck him in the face too, the FBI said. She continued to swing at other flight attendants, spitting on one of them.

Cynthia Mikula phoned her mother, and after speaking with her threw the telephone against a wall, according to the FBI. She kept on swinging at the crew, eventually causing one to lock her wrists and ankles in plastic restraints, similar to handcuffs. She was laid on the floor, cursing still.

As crew members restrained her sister, Crystal Mikula screamed, yelled, jumped on a flight attendant's back and put him in a choke hold, according to the FBI.

By this time, the 747-400 jet was 2,200 miles from Tokyo and 1,100 miles from Anchorage. The four pilots opted to land the plane in Anchorage. The Mikula sisters were escorted off the plane by authorities at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 10 p.m. Thursday.

The other passengers were taken to hotels. They were offered the chance to tour Anchorage or Portage Glacier on Friday.

The United flight was scheduled to leave Anchorage Friday evening for Shanghai, but without the twins. They will remain at the Sixth Avenue Jail until at least Wednesday, when a federal magistrate has scheduled a preliminary hearing.

The young women -- tall, slender, red-haired -- appeared in court separately Friday afternoon wearing navy blue jail suits and reading glasses, and looking like they had had a very long night. Cynthia Mikula winced when authorities removed handcuffs. Her arms were covered with bruises.

Both sisters told Magistrate John Roberts that they were not employed and could not afford attorneys. Crystal Mikula said she had about $17 and no credit cards.

''All I have is my clothes. That's all in my suitcase, '' she said.

Cynthia Mikula said she had $130 and a car in Michigan that has been totaled twice. The twins also make payments to their father for a $10,000 loan he helped secure them so they could move to California, she said.

The sisters appear to have developed a bit of a reputation in their hometown, where former teachers described them as talented but troublesome.

''They're feisty. If they get mad at each other, they'll fight each other. They're very strange girls, but they had a lot of potential, '' said Peter Newell, the administrator of alternative education at Mesick Consolidated School in Buckley, a school for difficult students from which the Mikulas graduated in 1996. Newell said. ''Their language (on the plane) -- I can imagine what it turned into, a free-for-all.''

Newell also called the sisters ''extremely intelligent young ladies'' who tutored other Mesick students.

''Where did they learn to manage their anger?'' he wondered. ''Screaming at each other, pulling their hair out -- there's a long history.''

''They have not been good citizens for a long time, '' said Sandy Kellogg, a secretary at the K-12 Buckley Community School, another school the sisters attended. The girls were on the honor roll and competed on the track team, Kellogg said.

''They were very productive young ladies, and then they started hanging around with the wrong crowd, '' she said.

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