Passenger Indicted for Interfering with a Flight Crew
HOUSTON—Joseph Ferrarone, 33, is set to appear in federal court following the return of an indictment alleging he interfered with a flight crew on a long flight aboard Qatar Airlines from Doha, Qatar, destined for Houston in early December, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Ferrarone was originally charged by criminal complaint on Dec. 2, 2014, a day after his flight returned to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. A federal grand jury returned the federal indictment Dec. 17, 2014. He is set for an initial appearance on that indictment today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge George C. Hanks, at which time the government expects to request his continued detention pending further criminal proceedings.
The indictment alleges Ferrarone did knowingly and unlawfully intimidate two flight attendants serving on board the aircraft destined for Houston on Dec. 1, 2014. Ferrarone allegedly created a disturbance on the flight through the use of abusive language, by threatening to blow up the plane and by refusing to comply with directions, instructions and warnings given to him by flight attendants. Because of his actions, the indictment alleges he interfered with the performance of their official duties.
The criminal complaint further alleges Ferrarone was disruptive almost the entire flight from Doha until approximately an hour before arrival in Houston. During the flight, he allegedly made threats to other passengers and kicked the seat in front of him on multiple occasions. He also allegedly attempted to consume his own liquor while onboard and became agitated when told this was not permitted.
The charges allege Ferrarone’s actions lessened the ability of the flight attendants to perform their official duties while onboard the aircraft.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Paulson is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.