Federal Jury Finds Fort Worth Man Guilty of Interfering with Southwest Airlines Flight Crew
AMARILLO, TX—Following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson, a federal jury has convicted a Fort Worth, Texas, man on the felony offense of interference with a flight crew, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
The jury deliberated less than three hours before convicting Zachary Marshall Ziba, 25, on the charge that was outlined in an indictment returned in February 2015 in Amarillo. Ziba, who will remain on bond, faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The government presented evidence at trial that on January 18, 2015, Ziba was on Southwest Airlines Flight 958 from Denver, Colorado, to Dallas. During that flight, Ziba intimidated a flight attendant and a flight crewmember by being disruptive, disobedient and by screaming profanities. The flight was diverted to Amarillo so that law enforcement could remove Ziba from the flight.
The FBI, the Amarillo Police Department and Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport Police investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Frausto and Timothy Hammer are prosecuting the case.