Yes, we know, this is marginally related to the NFL, but we're also six days into the offseason and there isn't a lot going on. So if you're not interested in Justin Bieber's latest transportation-related escapades, kindly skip over this story.
Apparently, pop star Justin Bieber doesn't have to be behind the wheel to get the authorities' attention. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into allegations that passengers aboard his Super Bowl-chartered Gulfstream IV from Ontario, Canada, to Teterboro, NJ, interfered with the flight crew.
FAA regulations state that, "No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crew member in the performance of the crew member's duties aboard an aircraft."
Law enforcement sources told CNN that Bieber and his father were "extremely abusive verbally" to a flight attendant on a flight the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. The two also refused repeated warnings not to smoke marijuana on the flight, and it got so bad that the pilots donned oxygen masks to keep from inhaling the smoke.
CNN reports that Bieber, 19 and a citizen of Canada in the United States on a work visa, was detained by border agents for several hours to determine if he would be allowed into the United States. Eventually he and his 10-member posse were granted entry. More details via CNN:
Authorities said both civil and criminal statues prohibit passengers from interfering with the a flight crew in the performance of their duties. Under a civil statute, violators face penalties of $11,000 to $27,500, the FAA said. Under a criminal statute, violators face a maximum of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
It is not clear how the case came to the FAA's attention. The agency declined to say whether they were alerted by complaints from the pilots, by media reports, or by the investigating CBP officers or others.
The FAA told CNN that it is "looking into the allegations," but did not identify the specific passengers in question. Representatives for Bieber had no comment to CNN on the matter.
Last month, Bieber was arrested in Miami on DUI and drag-racing charges. His father was reportedly present and helped block off residential streets to facilitate the drag race. The news of Bieber's arrest brought cheers from his Los Angeles neighbors Keyshawn Johnson and Eric Dickerson, who had witnessed Bieber speeding dangerously through their gated community.
"You got a 19-year-old kid feeling entitled, speeding up and down the highway," Johnson said at the time. "That's why all the neighbors [are] mad. Then you got him spitting on people in the neighborhood. You can't do that. That's not the way it's supposed to be."