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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New York Man Sentenced to Prison for Rushing Airline Cockpit

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – David Patrick Diaz, 36, of Poughkeepsie, New York, was sentenced today to nine months in prison and three years of supervised release for interference with flight crew members and attendants.  Diaz was also ordered to complete mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, and pay restitution to United Airlines in the amount of $22,151.77.

Diaz pleaded guilty on Jan. 15, 2016.  According to court documents, Diaz admitted to shouting threatening statements as he charged the cockpit of a United Airlines flight shortly after it took off from Dulles International Airport in March 2015.  After being tackled by a group of passengers, Diaz said the word, “Jihad,” and he also said that there was something in the belly of the plane.  The passengers and flight attendants were able to restrain Diaz until the plane returned safely to Dulles.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tyler McGaughey and Jonathan Fahey prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-324.

Updated April 8, 2016