Alicia Gonzalez Arrested for Interfering with Flight Crew Members and Attendants
|FBI San Juan November 01, 2013|
SAN JUAN—Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), San Juan Division, announced the arrest of Alicia Gonzalez for interfering with flight crew members and attendants. On October 31, 2013, Alicia Gonzalez was taken into custody by the FBI and charged with interference with flight crew members and attendants.
A federal complaint states that on October 31, 2013, Gonzalez traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, via JetBlue Airlines Flight 1503. This flight originated in New York at John F. Kennedy International Airport on October 30, 2013, at approximately 11:49 p.m., and arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport on October 31, 2013, at approximately 3:16 a.m. Gonzalez, a United States citizen, was initially assigned seat 7D but was later on moved to 24C after an incident involving two flight attendants.
During boarding and beginning portion of the flight, Gonzalez was observed acting rude toward the flight crew. During flight, Gonzalez made a visit to the aircraft’s lavatory. Upon exiting, Gonzalez sat in an empty seat identified by the flight attendants as a premium seat. A premium seat is a seat that requires the client/passenger to pay an extra fee due to the fact that it provides more legroom to the traveling public. MAMC, a flight attendant employed by JetBlue Airline who was on duty during JetBlue Airline Flight 1503, advised Gonzalez that she needed to move back to her original seat because that seat was a premium seat and required an extra fee. At approximately 1:00 a.m., prior to scheduled landing in San Juan, Puerto Rico, flight attendant MAMC was offering snacks and refreshments to the passengers when Gonzalez hit the chips basket with her hand. Several bags of chips fell on the aircraft’s aisle/deck, and some of the bags hit passengers that were sitting in the vicinity of Gonzalez’s assigned seat. Gonzalez became very upset at MAMC and began swearing at her (MAMC). MAMC ignored the comments in an attempt to defuse the situation. Thereafter, Gonzalez bumped MAMC with her shoulder while walking down the aircraft’s aisle.
Gonzalez started to yelled derogatory comments and swear words at MAMC for no apparent reason. Gonzalez stated, “B—, get out of my face”; “She doesn’t belong here to this airline”; “Get this b— away from me"; “Get this nasty b— away from me"; “F— b—"; “F— you, I don’t want you here"; and “You shouldn’t be here,” while pointing her finger toward MAMC. Because of her derogatory comments, MAMC felt that Gonzalez was expressing racially motivated verbal abusive comments directly at her. MAMC was physically described as a dark-skinned young female.
At some point, Gonzalez attempted to come up to MAMC, but DB, a flight attendant employed with JetBlue Airline who was on duty during JetBlue Airline Flight 1503, stood between Gonzalez and MAMC. Gonzalez was acting in a very aggressive manner, kept bumping DB while pointing her finger at MAMC, and continued yelling derogatory comments. DB advised Gonzalez that she needed to calm down and offered her another seat in the back rows of the aircraft. Gonzalez was allowed to switch seat after the offer made by DB. This action defused the situation until arrival.
The incident was reported during the flight to JetBlue Security Department, which was subsequently relayed to Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
If convicted, the defendant faces up to a maximum of 20 years for interference with flight crew members and attendants.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Soto and is being investigated by the FBI.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.