2 Women Charged After Allegedly Assaulting Airplane Crew, Passengers

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Representation. Kelly Pichardo and Leeza Rodriguez, aged 31 and 30, respectively, were both charged after they allegedly assaulted a flight crew member and fellow passengers while on board a plane.

Two women from New York face charges after they allegedly assaulted a plane's crew member and attacked fellow passengers while on board a flight from Texas to California earlier this year, prosecutors said.

Bronx resident Kelly Pichardo, 31, appeared virtually in federal court Wednesday on charges of interfering with a flight crew member and committing simple assault, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona said in a statement released on the same day as the hearing.

Leeza Rodriguez, 30, also of Bronx, is scheduled to appear in court next week on the same charges.

According to the attorney's office, Pichardo and Rodriguez were both on board an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Los Angeles on Feb. 24 when they allegedly assaulted a crew member and interfered with their ability to perform their duties.

The women allegedly each assaulted a passenger during the flight as well, according to an indictment.

Pichardo and Rodriguez's alleged actions prompted the flight crew to conduct an unscheduled landing in Phoenix, Arizona, according to the statement.

"It is a violation of federal law on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States to interfere with flight crew members in the performance of their duties or to lessen their ability to perform those duties by assault or intimidation," prosecutors said in the statement.

A conviction for interfering with a flight crew member carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of confinement and a fine of up to $250,000. A conviction for simple assault, meanwhile, carries a maximum penalty of 6 months of confinement and a fine of up to $5,000.

Pichardo and Rodriguez were previously indicted by a grand jury on three counts related to the February incident.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as the Phoenix Police Department helped investigate the case.

Earlier this month, another airplane passenger was duct-taped to her seat for allegedly attacking flight attendants and attempting to open the aircraft's door mid-flight.

The unnamed woman was placed on American Airlines' "internal" no-fly list pending an investigation on the incident, which took place on the carrier's flight 1774 traveling from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 6.


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Photo: Pixabay

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