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Press Release

Brazilian Man Pleads Guilty to Intimidating and Interfering with a Flight Crew and Flight Attendants

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

Guilherme Alves De Melo (Alves), age 32, a citizen of Brazil, pled guilty today to one count of intimidating a flight crew member and flight attendants, thereby lessening or interfering with their ability to perform their duties, in violation of federal law.­ The charge was contained in an Indictment returned July 25, 2018, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids. 

An affidavit previously filed in the case alleged that, on or about June 23, 2018, Alves was a passenger on an international American Airlines flight originating in Calgary, Canada, and bound for Chicago, Illinois. During the flight, Alves became disruptive and a flight attendant repeatedly told him that he needed to calm down. The flight attendant brought the disruptive conduct to the attention of the captain. About an hour before the flight was to arrive in Chicago, Alves again became disruptive and was scaring others passengers. Less than a minute later, Alves “lost it,” leading to some of the passengers restraining him with zip ties provided by the flight crew.  As a result of Alves’ behavior, the flight was diverted to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids after it had begun its final descent to Chicago. 

After the aircraft landed in Cedar Rapids, Alves was removed from the airplane by Cedar Rapids Police.  However, he again became loud and used expletives within sight and sound of other passengers and employees at the airport.  Alves was charged with disorderly conduct for these actions and, on June 24, 2018, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Linn County District Court.

Alves faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 5 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.  A sentencing date will be set at a later date.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard L. Murphy and was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.

Court file information at

The case file number is 18-CR-00071.

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Updated August 23, 2018

Violent Crime