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Press Release

Airline Passenger Charged With Cocaine Possession After Flight Diverted to MSP

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – A New York man was arrested today in Minneapolis on criminal charges related to his alleged possession of cocaine on a flight from New York to San Francisco, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

According to court documents, on May 16, 2021, Jet Blue Airlines flight 915 was en route from New York to San Francisco when it diverted to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport because a man, later identified as Mark Anthony Scerbo, 42, was acting erratically and causing a commotion.  Witnesses reported Scerbo walking up and down the aisle with a butter knife in his fist, snorting white powder, and had a bag containing a white powdery substance on his tray, which a flight attendant retrieved and later delivered to police. After landing, MSP Airport Police detained Scerbo and took custody of the bag of white powdery substance, which field tested positive for cocaine and weighed 24.5 grams.

Scerbo is charged with one count of possession of cocaine. If convicted, Scerbo faces a maximum of three years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 18, 2023