Flight diverted to MSP after man snorted cocaine, paced aisle with butter knife in hand

The New York man reportedly walked the aisles with a butter knife in hand, sexually harassed women onboard, and refused to wear a mask. 

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An unruly airline passenger with a bag of “white powder” caused a flight from New York to divert to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on May 16.

Mark Anthony Scerbo, 42, of New York has been charged with one count of cocaine possession, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Scerbo was on JetBlue flight 915 from New York to San Francisco when he began acting erratically. Witnesses on the flight saw Scerbo snort cocaine at his seat and harass passengers.

The New York man allegedly walked the aisles with a metal butter knife in hand, sexually harassed women onboard, and refused to wear a mask.

According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Scerbo told the female passenger seated next to him that he was Genghis Khan and accused her of being in the CIA.

“Scerbo talked to this passenger about nanobots, angels, a ‘peace army’ and at one point touched her phone screen,” the complaint says. “This witness noted Scerbo went to the bathroom approximately six times.”

At one point, the female passenger saw Scerbo dip his finger into a bag of white power and snort it. She said he had white powder all over his mustache, face, and pants.

Scerbo also made inappropriate comments toward the woman, told her he loved her, and patted her on the head.

One flight attendant said Scerbo was “singing out loud, doing yoga-like movements in people’s faces, and acting aggressively.”

When the plane landed at MSP, police detained Scerbo for suspicion of drug possession and tested the bag of powder. The bag weighing 24.5 grams came back as positive for cocaine.

Scerbo faces up to three years in prison and a fine of $5,000 for his actions. The complaint states that Scerbo has several prior convictions, including a 2004 drug charge that sent him to prison for 57 months.

Either a pilot or flight attendant briefed the passengers about the incident on the tarmac at MSP, according to a video posted on Twitter.

“After being told to settle down, he made more threats to other passengers and the flight attendants, and it was collectively decided that all four flight attendants felt uncomfortable with what was going on,” the JetBlue employee told the passengers. “This was the closest place to go so we as a team made the decision to come here.”


Katie Larsen

Katie Larsen is a cartoonist and writer for Alpha News.