A 23-year-old Las Vegas man who threatened fellow passengers, forcing a private plane heading to New York to make an emergency landing Monday in North Platte faces the possibility of serving 20 years in prison.
The Nebraska United States Attorney’s Office says Maurice Paola has been charged with one count of interfering with flight crew members and attendants.
Federal officials accuse Paola of threatening to decapitate some of the passengers and say he directly threatened a family with two young children.
According to court documents, Paola began arguing with a flight attendant about an hour after the jet picked him up in Las Vegas. Paola allegedly started throwing things at passengers. He pounded on windows and banged his head. He insisted the plane land immediately.
Efforts to calm him didn’t work. The crew declared an emergency and the plane landed at North Platte Regional Airport. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies boarded the plane, a 12-passenger jet. Deputies used a Taser to subdue him.
The plane continued to New York.