A 42-year-old New York man pleaded guilty in Minnesota federal court to one count of possessing a controlled substance on Wednesday, less than a month after his open cocaine use and unruly behavior caused a Jet Blue pilot to divert a flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

On May 16, Mark A. Scerbo, of Mechanicville, N.Y., was on a flight en route to San Francisco when witnesses saw him snorting white powder and walking up the aisles carrying a butter knife in his fist, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court. A flight attendant retrieved a bag containing 24.5 grams of cocaine, according to federal prosecutors. Scerbo disrupted the flight by throwing food, claiming to be a prophet called Genghis Khan and accusing a passenger of being a CIA agent, according to an FBI affidavit underlying the original charging complaint. He scared other passengers by acting aggressively, calling one a homophobic slur and professing his love to another. When one passenger asked if he was on drugs, Scerbo replied, "Of course not, look me in my third eye," according to the affidavit.

Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036