SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a Florida man to time-served and released him after he pleaded guilty to disrupting an airline flight by refusing to extinguish the cigarette he was smoking.

Manolin Jesus Villaverde was sentenced Friday in San Antonio after pleading guilty in May to interfering with a flight crew aboard a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to Ontario, Calif. His refusal to stop smoking Jan. 24 prompted an unscheduled landing in San Antonio.

The Miami man had remained in custody for almost six months since and could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. Instead, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery sentenced him to five years’ probation, assessed him $100 in court costs and ordered him released.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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