The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Thursday, Nov. 4, that it had sent 37 of the “most serious” cases since August involving unruly airline passengers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution.

Per NPR, officials from the FAA and the Justice Department said that they created a process for the FAA to regularly report cases to the FBI, with the FBI referring those cases to field offices for investigation.

In a joint statement released by the FAA and the FBI on Thursday, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson stated, “Let this serve both as a warning and a deterrent: If you disrupt a flight, you risk not just fines from the FAA but federal criminal prosecution as well.”

As News Nation reported, the 37 cases referred to the FBI this week were among 227 of the most egregious cases of unruly or disruptive behavior recorded by the FAA since January, when the agency implemented its “zero-tolerance” policy. As a result, the FAA initiated civil enforcement action against all 227 people involved, with fines of up to $37,000 per violation.

So far this year, the FAA has received 5,033 incidents of unruly passengers on flights, with 3,642 of those cases labeled “mask-related.”

Last week, a 20-year-old California man was charged with punching an American Airlines flight attendant in the face, leaving her with a blood-splattered nose. Following the assault, American Airlines Flight 976 from Kennedy Airport to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana was diverted to Denver.

The Association of Flight Attendants advocates for a new no-fly list for passengers who attack crew members or other passengers. In addition, someone banned from flying on one airline may be prohibited from flying on all.

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