California fugitive wanted in 1969 Cuban hijacking returns from Nigeria
LOS ANGELES -- (AP) -- A California fugitive wanted in the 1969
hijacking of an
airliner to Cuba has returned to the United States from Nigeria to face charges.
Byron Vaughn Booth, 56, had been in contact with the U.S. embassy
in Lagos in
recent years to express an interest in returning home, the FBI said in a
He was arrested with the help of local authorities and flown to
on Friday in the custody of federal marshals, said FBI spokeswoman Cheryl
Booth and Clinton Robert Smith, another convict, escaped from
Institution for Men in 1969. They were both being held on robbery convictions.
The day after their escape, they boarded National Airlines flight
64 from Los
Angeles to Miami, the FBI said. The DC-8, with 23 passengers and seven crew
members on board, was hijacked while over the Gulf of Mexico.
Smith was allegedly armed with a small handgun and Booth allegedly
he had dynamite, the FBI said.
The plane landed at Camaguey, Cuba, where officials there removed
hijackers. Federal warrants for the men were issued in Miami and Los Angeles,
but Cuban authorities released them.
The pair reportedly continued on to Algiers, where Smith was rumored
been murdered. His death has never been confirmed and a warrant for his arrest is
outstanding, the FBI said.
The California Department of Corrections did not have information
on how the men
escaped from the prison, located 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
Booth had been serving a sentence of five years to life in prison
for a first-degree
robbery. Smith was serving a five-year sentence for second-degree robbery.
Booth, who is to be prosecuted in Los Angeles, was to appear before
magistrate in Alexandria, Va., on Monday.