KANSAS- In federal court today, a resident of California, Juan Remberto Rivas, entered a guilty plea for attempting to open the exit door on an American Airlines (AA) flight headed to Washington, D.C. (DCA).
The incident led to Rivas being subdued by both passengers and flight attendants, ultimately forcing the plane to make an unplanned landing at Kansas City International Airport in Missouri.
American Airlines Flight Diversion
Rivas, aged 52, pleaded guilty to a single count of interfering with flight crew members and flight attendants before U.S. District Judge Roseann A. Ketchmark.
The occurrence occurred on American Airlines flight AA1775, originally traveling nonstop from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, D.C., but was rerouted to Kansas City International Airport (KCI) on February 13, 2022.
By entering a guilty plea today, Rivas acknowledged creating a disturbance with the intent to intimidate a flight attendant on the aircraft.
Positioned at the front of the plane, Rivas engaged in a verbal altercation with the flight attendant. He then placed plastic silverware in his shirt sleeve to simulate a shank.
Following this, Rivas seized a small champagne bottle and attempted to break it on the counter. Subsequently, he tried to open an exit door by lifting the handle.
In response, another flight attendant intervened, striking Rivas with a coffee pot. Following this altercation, Rivas was subdued and restrained for the flight.
Could face 20 Years of Jail Time
According to federal statutes, Rivas could face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole.
It’s important to note that Congress outlines the maximum statutory sentence for informational purposes, as the court will determine the actual sentencing based on advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
The prosecution of this case is led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker, and the FBI conducted the investigation.
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