1968 Hijacker Returns from Cuba, is Arrested


Louis Armando Peña Soltren, believed to have been part of a crew that hijacked a passenger flight from New York bound for Puerto Rico and redirected it to Cuba 41 years ago, has returned to New York and been arrested at JFK — where he alleged boarded Pan Am Flight 281 on November 24, 1968, with intent to redirect it. Over the intervening years, Jose Rafael Rios Cruz and Miguel Castro had returned to the U.S. and been tried and imprisoned for the hijacking, and an alleged accomplice tried and acquitted, while Soltren remained in Cuba, immune from U.S. prosecution. Last month the U.S. activated the case against Soltren, on suspicion that he would be returning; it’s not known what role, if any, the Cuban government had in his departure from the island. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says “will finally face the American justice system that he has been evading for more than four decades.” Soltren, a former member of the Puerto Rican Liberation Movement, is 66 years old.