Bolivian gets 7 years for Mexico plane hijacking

AP News
Posted: May 19, 2011 10:00 AM
Bolivian gets 7 years for Mexico plane hijacking

A Bolivian pastor was sentenced to seven years in prison for the 2009 hijacking of a plane as it landed in Mexico City, authorities said Thursday.

A federal court convicted Josmar Flores of attacking a means of transport and illegally retaining people, a lesser form of kidnapping, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement. He was sentenced to seven years, seven months and 15 days in prison.

On Sept. 9, 2009, Flores threatened to detonate a bomb aboard a Aeromexico commercial jetliner that had taken off from the resort city of Cancun. He demanded to speak to President Felipe Calderon, saying he wanted to warn of an earthquake that would occur in 2012.

Flores ordered the pilot to circle over Mexico City seven times, but the pilot said he didn't do that because the plane didn't have enough fuel.

An hourlong standoff at the Mexico City airport ended peacefully when police raided the plane. None of the 103 passengers and seven crew members were harmed. The bomb turned out to be fake.

Mexican authorities have said Flores is a drug addict who was convicted of armed robbery in Bolivia and had lived in Mexico for 17 years before the hijacking.

Flores has described himself as a pastor in southern Oaxaca state who had gone to Cancun to preach.

He is also a Christian music singer who, in videos posted on YouTube, sings of leaving drugs and finding God. He had said he did not regret hijacking the plane because he was acting on divine revelation.