A 24-year-old man has been charged with assaulting and interfering with a flight attendant during a flight from Miami to Washington D.C. in which the suspect is also accused of damaging a lavatory door and barging in one another passenger who was using a lavatory.
Cherruy Loghan Sevilla of Houston, Texas, told the FBI shortly after his arrest that he had taken magic mushrooms (psilocybin) shortly before boarding United Airlines flight UA2116 on Tuesday.
Psilocybin is a psychedelic which can cause hallucinations. Researchers warn that it can become “almost impossible to think or act normally‘ when under the influence of psilocybin.
Sevilla told investigators that he had taken psilocybin before and was “not totally surprised” by the allegations of his behavior onboard the United Airlines-operated Boeing 737.
According to an affidavit submitted by the FBI in the Virginia Eastern District Court, Sevilla started to act strangely about an hour into the two-hour flight to Washington DC.
At one point, Sevilla broke off a piece of plastic from the lavatory door and then somehow managed to break through the locked door and barged in on another passenger who was using the lavatory.
Sevilla was running up and down the aisle, clapping loudly near the cockpit, yelling obscenities and getting in the faces of other passengers. He was directed back to his seat, but he started to shout and scream and laid out on the floor.
When a flight attendant directed him to return to his seat, Sevilla suddenly jumped up and attacked the flight attendant by grabbing and twisting her breast.
At this point, other passengers and an unidentified law enforcement officer jumped in and intervened. Sevilla was placed in handcuffs and restrained in his seat, while the pilots continued to fly to Washington DC.
The Captain told the FBI that he declared a Level 2 disturbance – the second highest threat level – and requested law enforcement meet the aircraft on arrival.
Sevilla has been released on bail until his next court appearance on October 13. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.