FBI Arrests Unruly Passenger Unaware That You Can’t Light Up Cigarettes Inside An Airplane

A Miami man who exited an airplane lavatory smoking is facing a federal felony charge after he tangled with flight attendants who sought to have him extinguish his cigarette.

The incident Tuesday evening came an hour into a United Airlines flight from Houston to Ontario, California, according to a U.S. District Court criminal complaint. Flight attendants told the FBI that passenger Manolin Villaverde, 37, “came out of the restroom smoking a cigarette.”

When told that he could not smoke on the flight, “Villaverde responded that he did not care,” reported FBI Agent Gregory Morse. A flight attendant took the cigarette from Villaverde and extinguished it in the bathroom.

Undeterred, Villaverde lit up another butt inside the Boeing 737. A second flight attendant “grabbed Villaverde’s cigarette and extinguished it and again told him to sit down.” Villaverde was eventually subdued with plastic handcuffs after he sought to push past attendants. He claimed that “the captain wanted to speak with him.”

Pictured in the above mug shot, Villaverde was charged yesterday with interfering with flight crew members. He is being held in advance of a detention hearing tomorrow morning in federal court in San Antonio (where the United flight was diverted).

Villaverde’s rap sheet, which dates back to 2000, includes arrests for weapons possession, larceny, assault, and aggravated battery.