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'Unruly' passenger turned over to immigration officials

By Marnie Hunter, CNN
Immigration officals have custody of a man who disrupted a Continental Airlines flight Wednesday.
Immigration officals have custody of a man who disrupted a Continental Airlines flight Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An "unruly" male passenger was detained by authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Immigration officials have started removal proceedings for the man, an illegal immigrant
  • No one on the flight was hurt; no suspected ties to terrorism, authorities say
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(CNN) -- A disruptive passenger who prompted a flight diversion Wednesday is on his way to being removed from the United States, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Because of privacy issues, ICE could only provide limited information about the incident.

"I can tell you that the man who was removed from Continental Flight number 1576 on Wednesday morning in Albuquerque is in ICE custody, and he has been placed into removal proceedings," said agency spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.

The man is an illegal immigrant, Zamarripa confirmed. It is unclear whether the incident aboard the plane is related to proceedings to remove him from the United States.

The passenger, who has not been identified, was taken into custody Wednesday at Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico after an incident aboard the plane led to an unexpected stop for the Houston-bound flight. The flight originated in San Jose, California.

Immigration and FBI officials have declined to comment on the behavior that led to the diversion to New Mexico. The passenger was characterized as "unruly" by FBI spokesman Frank Fisher.

CNN affiliate KOAT reports the man threatened to jump from the plane and had to be restrained.

No one on the plane was hurt, and authorities do not believe there are any terrorism ties to the incident, Fisher said.

Continental Airlines is cooperating with local authorities, an airline spokeswoman said Wednesday.