Fugitive in '68 Hijack Nabbed at JFK

After 41 years in Cuba, alleged hijacker could face life in prison
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2009 4:55 AM CDT
Luis Armando Pena Soltren, who allegedly hijacked a Pan-Am flight and diverted it to Cuba in 1968, was arrested at Kennedy airport last night after more than 40 years on the run.   (©wade2000)

(Newser) – A longtime fugitive who allegedly hijacked a plane in 1968 and diverted it to Cuba was arrested yesterday at JFK Airport in New York and will be arraigned tomorrow. Luis Armando Pena Soltren, now 66, is accused of smuggling weapons inside a diaper bag and terrorizing dozens of passengers 41 years ago. His two accomplices were arrested in the mid-1970s and pleaded guilty.

Hijacking planes was a numbingly frequent occurrence in 1968. More than 30 flights were hijacked or faced attempted hijackings to Cuba, including two on the day in question, according to the New York Times. US attorneys expected the fugitive's return yesterday, though it's unclear whether the Cuban government played any part in the arrest. Soltren is facing charges of air piracy and kidnapping; if convicted, he faces life in prison.