The Mystery of the Allegedly Drunk Deputy US Marshal on Delta Air Lines

by SharonKurheg

Back in early December, multiple news outlets were reporting that Deputy U.S. Marshal Michael Brereton was arrested in the UK after allegedly appearing intoxicated and sexually abusing a woman while onboard a flight from New York JFK to London-Heathrow.

London’s Metropolitan Police arrested 39-year-old Brereton, a marshal assigned to the Eastern District of New York, on the morning of Wednesday, December 6th (local time). This was after receiving reports from the staff on an inbound Delta flight that “a passenger was disruptive and had sexually assaulted other passengers and crew.”

According to an NBC affiliate in New York, a woman reportedly complained to the flight crew that she had been inappropriately touched at some point during the flight.

Delta told the New York Times that due to “unruly passenger behavior while in flight, Delta Flight 1, J.F.K. to London-Heathrow, was met by local law enforcement upon landing, and Delta is cooperating with their investigation.” The airline declined to offer further information.

Another Deputy Marshal, who had also allegedly been drinking, was briefly detained before being released. He returned to the U.S. the same day without incident.

Both deputies were on the flight to London to pick up a prisoner who was being extradited to the U.S. to face charges.

The U.S. Marshals Service said it was aware the deputy “exhibited inappropriate behavior while intoxicated on an inbound flight”. The service said in a statement that “The U.S. Marshals Service takes seriously any allegations of misconduct by its employees. The alleged actions of the employees do not reflect the professionalism of the thousands of employees of the U.S.M.S. or its core values.” The agency also said it was cooperating with British police.

The next day, Thursday December 7th, Brereton, whose passport was confiscated due to the arrest, was charged with entering an aircraft while drunk (Metropolitan Police Service spokesperson Josh Coupe said on December 7th that there would be no further action in regards to the allegation of sexual assault). The following day, he appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court and spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and address and to enter his plea of guilty or not guilty.

a brick building with a road and trees

Rob Emms / Uxbridge Magistrates Court / CC BY-SA 2.0

He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail until his trial at the same court on February 1.

And then the story…stopped. February 1st came and went without any updates to Brereton’s story. Was he sentenced? (charges for entering an aircraft while drunk carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment) Were the charges dropped? Was he given his passport back and able to return to the U.S.? We just don’t know.

I know how to look up court cases in the U.S., but not in the U.K. And, of course, with the U.S.M.S. such a mysterious entity, there is, of course, nothing we can look up stateside.

The world may never know.

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