Security breach in Russia: A Russian man flew to LA without a passport or ticket tailgated an unsuspecting passenger through security, boarded plane next day

According to prosecutors, a Russian man tailgated an unsuspecting passenger through security at a Danish airport before boarding a flight to the United States without a passport or ticket the following day.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, 46, was found guilty of sneaking onto a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles International Airport on November 4, 2023.

After a three-day trial, a jury convicted Ochigava of one count of being a stowaway on an aircraft, which carries a maximum term of five years in federal prison.

On November 3, 2023, Ochigava, who carried both Russian and Israeli passports, followed another passenger over a security gate at Copenhagen Airport to obtain admission to one of the terminals, where he stayed overnight.

The next day, Ochigava boarded Scandinavian Airlines Flight 931 unnoticed.

During the 11-hour flight, cabin workers spotted Ochigava rotating between several seats that were marked as empty.

Ochigava was halted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers after landing at LAX on November 4 because his name did not show on any inbound international flight records, including the Scandinavian Airlines flight manifest.

He also failed to present any identity or travel documentation when requested, and none of his stories convinced the officers who were interviewing him.

“Ochigava gave false and misleading information about his travel to the United States, including telling CBP that he left his passport on the airplane,” according to the press release.

CBP investigators checked Ochigava’s bags and discovered what “appeared to be Russian identification cards and an Israeli identification card,” according to court records.

They also discovered a snapshot on his phone that partially displayed a passport with his name, date of birth, and passport number but no photograph.

In a criminal complaint, Ochgava stated he hadn’t “been sleeping for three days and did not understand what was going on.”

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court two days after his detention, also described how Ochigava roamed around the cabin during the journey and attempted to communicate with other passengers, but they ignored him.

He reportedly ate “two meals at each meal service, and at one time attempted to consume the chocolate that belonged to Ochigava, who was convicted of one count of stowing away on an airplane.

Ochigava, who claimed to have an airline ticket to the United States, was also unable to explain why he was in Copenhagen in the first place or how he got past airport security.

He has been in federal detention since his arrest at LAX on November 4.

US District Judge George H. Wu has scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 5.

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