When news broke that alleged Pan Am hijacker Luis Armando Peña Soltren—the FBI's longest wanted fugitive—had turned himself over to authorities yesterday, it seemed probable that Soltren had worked out a plea deal in exchange for surrendering after more than four decades in exile. But today Soltren pleaded not guilty to participating in the 1968 hijacking of a Pan Am flight from New York and rerouting it to Havana, where he has lived ever since.
Soltren was taken into custody at JFK Sunday after arriving on a flight from Cuba. At his arraignment today, he pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, air piracy and other charges that could send him to jail for life. Prosecutors asked that Soltren be held without bail, and the United States Attorney's Office released a statement saying, "Luis Armando Peña Soltren will finally face the American justice system that he has been evading for more than four decades. The passage of time does not dull our resolve to bring fugitives like Peña Soltren to justice."