A mysterious man carrying both Russian and Israeli IDs, believed to be a Russian citizen, landed at LAX last month and seemed to be pretty evasive after he was detained by Customs & Border Patrol agents and subsequently questioned by the FBI.

The man, identified as Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, landed in Los Angeles on a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen on November 4, with no plane ticket and no passport. Strangely, Ochigava had made it onto the Scandinavian Airlines flight and acted oddly onboard — sitting in a seat that was supposed to be unoccupied and then changing seats several times and ordering more than one meal — without sounding any alarms from flight attendants.

As the New York Times reports, Ochigava was questioned by federal agents on November 5 and gave an array of strange and evasive answers about where he had come from and why he was in Los Angeles.

He claimed to have a Ph.D. in economics and marketing, and said he "might have had" a plane ticket to the U.S., but he wasn't sure. He also claimed he hadn't slept in three days and said he "did not understand what was going on."

He claimed not to remember how he got through security without a ticket at Copenhagen's airport, and refused to explain how or why he ended up in Copenhagen.

According to an affidavit, Ochigava approached a Customs & Border Control agent at LAX on November 4 and claimed he had left his passport on the plane, but Scandinavian Airlines says no passport was found on the aircraft. Ochigava also allegedly asked for two meals during each of two meal services on the plane, and "at one point attempted to eat the chocolate that belonged to members of the cabin crew."

He's been charged in federal court with being a stowaway on an aircraft, a felony that comes with a possible five-year prison sentence, and he is due to start trial on December 26.

The case of course brings to mind the sad case of former Bay Area resident Marilyn Hartman, a woman in her 60s who, perhaps due to some mental health issues, was a serial stowaway on airplanes around the country between 2014 and 2019. She was ultimately remanded to a residential detention facility in Chicago after multiple arrests, and last we heard she had been arrested in 2021 after escaping the facility with an ankle monitor on and heading to O'Hare.

But in the case of Ochigava, there could of course be something more nefarious going on. He apparently only allowed federal agents to see six photos on his cellphone, and one showed an airport screen displaying flights going all over the world. Another image showed "screengrabs from a maps app of a hostel in Kiel, Germany, and street maps of 'an unknown foreign city,'" per the Times.

Photo: Maxence Pion