Guilherme Alves De Melo (Alves), age 33, from Brazil, has been charged with one count of intimidating a flight crew member or attendant and lessening or interfering with their ability to perform their duties, in violation of federal law. The charge is contained in a Complaint filed June 26, 2018, in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids.
The Complaint alleges that, on or about June 23, 2018, Alves was a passenger on an international flight originating in Calgary, Canada and bound for Chicago, Illinois. It is further alleged that during the flight, Alves became disruptive and was told by a member of the flight crew that he needed to calm down. The flight attendant brought the disruptive conduct to the attention of the captain. About an hour before the flight was to arrive in Chicago, it is alleged that Alves again became disruptive and was scaring others passengers. Less than a minute later, Alves is alleged to have “lost it,” leading to some of the passengers needing to restrain him with zip ties provided by the flight crew. As a result, the flight was diverted to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids after it had begun its final descent to Chicago.
After the aircraft landed, the Cedar Rapids police removed Alves from the airplane. However, Alves became loud and used expletives within sight and sound of other passengers and employees at the airport. Alves was charged with disorderly conduct for these actions. On June 24, 2018, defendant pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $100 fine in Linn County District Court.
If convicted on the federal charge, Alves faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 5 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.
Alves appeared in federal court on June 28, 2018. At that time, the court scheduled a detention hearing and a preliminary hearing for 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 2, 2018. Alves was ordered detained without bond pending the detention hearing.
As with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard L. Murphy and investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 18-mj-00223.