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Suspect in 1968 hijacking at JFK is captured

  • Story Highlights
  • Luis Armando Pena Soltren, 66, surrenders to federal authorities at JFK Airport
  • It's same airport from which Pan Am Flight 281 took off more than 40 years ago
  • Indictment: Soltren, three others conspired to hijack Flight 281 in November 1968
  • U.S. official: Soltren "will finally face the American justice system"
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man accused of playing a role in the 1968 hijacking of a Pan Am flight from New York to Puerto Rico was arrested Sunday, federal officials said.

Luis Armando Pena Soltren surrendered to federal authorities at New York's JFK International Airport.

Luis Armando Pena Soltren surrendered to federal authorities at New York's JFK International Airport.

Luis Armando Pena Soltren, 66, surrendered to federal authorities at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after exiting a flight from Havana, Cuba, officials said. It's the same airport from which Pan Am Flight 281 took off more than 40 years ago.

He flew to New York under the custody of State Department diplomatic security personnel, said a law enforcement source and a senior State Department official.

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's Evan Buxbaum, Carol Cratty and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

All About John F. Kennedy International Airport

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