U.S.’s longest wanted fugitive in custody

October 12, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A man accused of helping to hijack a Pan Am flight out of John F. Kennedy Airport more than 40 years ago to Havana, has returned from Cuba, where he’s been hiding the past four decades, officials say. Luis Armando Peña Soltren, 66, is the U.S.’s longest wanted fugitive.  Ironically he surrendered to federal authorities at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after exiting a flight from Havana, Cuba, the same airport from which Pan Am Flight 281 took off more than 40 years ago.

Soltren is accused of bursting into the cockpit of a Pan Am flight carrying 96 passengers and seven crew members flying south of Bermuda in November 1968, and demanded that it be flown to Cuba, authorities said. Prosecutors say Soltren, two other men, and a fourth female accomplice were armed with guns and knives that the woman had stuffed into a diaper bag. The three other people involved have already been tried, one was acquitted and two were sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 1968, more than 30 planes were hijacked or attempted to have been hijacked to Cuba, including two that very day. Soltren will be arraigned tomorrow. His wife and children live in the United States, and Soltren made it known to U.S. officials that he wanted to come home and face charges.


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