U.S. Arrests Man Wanted for Hijacking a Flight Out of New York 40 Years Ago

A man wanted for hijacking a flight out of New York 40 years ago was arrested Sunday after arriving on a flight from Cuba, federal authorities said.

Longtime fugitive Luis Armando Pena Soltren was wanted for his role in the Nov. 24, 1968, hijacking of a Pan Am flight bound for Puerto Rico. The 66-year-old Soltren was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said.

Soltren was expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan on a 1968 indictment.

"As the 1968 charges allege, he terrorized dozens of passengers when he and his cohorts wielded pistols and knives to hijack Pan American flight 281," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement Sunday, The Associated Press reports.

Soltren, now 66, was arrested at Kennedy Airport - the same place where Flight 281 departed four decades ago. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan on a 1968 indictment.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. district attorney refused to comment on why Soltren was traveling to the United States.

The other hijackers, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz and Miguel Castro, were arrested in the mid-1970s and pleaded guilty to their roles in the takeover, a spokeswoman for the U.S. district attorney said.

The hijackers were accompanied by a woman and a baby. Weapons and ammunition had been sneaked onto the flight in a diaper bag, according to a criminal complaint, Newsday reports.

Authorities did not offer additional details about Soltren's arrest. Soltren "will finally face the American justice system that he has been evading for more than four decades," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

According to a December 1968 indictment, Soltren and three others -- Jose Rafael Rios Cruz, Miguel Castro and Alejandro Figueroa -- conspired to hijack Flight 281 on November 24 of that year.

They were accused of bringing concealed guns and knives aboard and using them to take over the flight. Crew members told authorities at the time that the armed suspects forced their way into the plane's cabin and ordered the crew to fly to Havana, according to court documents.

Cruz and Castro were sentenced in the 1970s after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in New York. They received 15-year and 12-year sentences, respectively. Their current whereabouts were not immediately known. Figueroa was acquitted in 1969, CNN informs.

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