This article was produced in collaboration with Court Watch, an independent outlet that unearths overlooked court records.
In November, a “Russian economist” without a boarding pass:
- was caught by airport security in Copenhagen
- had two passports confiscated by police because he was on an expired visa and didn't have a ticket
- was allowed to wander unmonitored around an international airport terminal
- unsuccessfully tried to sneak onto a flight to Bangkok using a “piece of paper written in Russian”
- stayed overnight in the terminal
- tried to board another flight to London the next morning and was turned away again
- still was not detained
- successfully snuck onto a flight to Los Angeles without any travel documents
- tried to sit in business class
- scammed his way into two meals by repeatedly changing the seat he was in
Last month we broke the news about the curious case of Sergey Ochigava, who wound up at LAX airport without the government, the airline, or the man himself seemingly knowing how he’d gotten there. Ochigava has been detained in the U.S. on stowaway charges since November. Two new court filings by the Department of Justice shed light on how he got onto the plane, and show the disjointed investigative process that happens when a person without a ticket, a visa, or travel documents randomly shows up in the United States.