Provided by US Department of Justice
LUBBOCK, TX — A federal grand jury meeting yesterday in Lubbock, Texas, returned a one-count indictment charging Ali Reza Shahsavari, 29, of Indialantic, Florida, with one count of interference with a flight crew, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Shahsavari was arrested Tuesday, October 18, 2011, at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Amarillo. He made his initial appearance in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, this morning, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte, and remains in custody, pending a detention hearing scheduled for October 25th at 9:30 a.m.
The indictment alleges that on October 18, 2011, Shahsavari, a passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida, assaulted and intimidated the flight attendant and flight crew member by being disruptive, screaming profanities and entering and damaging the aircraft's lavatory — all while the flight was in progress.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the statutory maximum penalty for interfering with a flight crew is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI, the Amarillo Police Department and the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport Police.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy L. Drake, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Amarillo, is in charge of the prosecution.