This indictment unsealed on September 22 in federal court in Brooklyn charges Janessa Torres and Johara Zavala with assaulting a federal official at JFK Airport (JFK Airport) on September 22, 2021.
The defendants were taken into custody this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
The trio – Jordan Nixon, 21, Janessa Torres, 21, and Johara Zavala, 44 – allegedly acted belligerent before boarding a Delta flight bound for San Juan last September 22.
One of the women seemed intoxicated, and the other refused to put on a properly fitted mask, prosecutors said.
A gate worker flagged the unruly behaviour to the flight crew – and the captain decided the women couldn’t board the plane, prosecutors said.
Security officers were trying to tell the women that they had completed their services and should leave when one of the women allegedly hit a security officer with his own walkie-talkie.
The passenger allegedly kicked and punched the Delta employee in the face even before their flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Prosecutors said that the gate worker tried to help the man, and then he was attacked.
Afterwards, the trio allegedly ganged up on the security officer, punching and kicking him in the face as soon as he let himself be pushed down to the ground.
Two employees were taken to the hospital for help.
The Long Islanders were charged with assault.
“As alleged, the defendants viciously and aggressively assaulted an airline security officer with a radio while they were at it,” stated United States Attorney Peace.
“The behaviour of air travel has become increasingly aggressive and out of control that this office has zero-tolerance for violent conduct that threatens the safety of passengers who fly on airlines and our employees. Anyone who engages in these activities will be prosecuted to the fullest..Mr. Peace expressed his gratitude to the Port Authority Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
“The lead federal agency in charge of arrest for those who assault, intimidate, and threaten flight crew or the safety of other passengers is the FBI,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“Anyone who thinks they can get away with this behaviour should be reminded that the consequences of their actions are criminal and can result in time behind bars from federal criminal charges. We take all cases seriously.”