A Cuban who used fake grenadesto hijack a Cuban passenger plane to Florida was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for air piracy, a federal prosecutor said.
Adermis Wilson Gonzalez, 34, boarded the Cubana Airlinesflight with his common-law wife and 3-year-old son in Cuba'sIsle of Youth on March 31. It was bound for Havana with 46passengers and five crew aboard.
Wilson carried home-made ceramic parts designed to looklike grenades, assembling them during the flight with metalpins his wife had hidden in her hair. Twenty minutes into theflight, Wilson announced he was carrying live grenades andthreatened to detonate them unless the plane went to Florida.
The plane did not have enough fuel for the trip and thepilot landed in Havana, where Wilson allowed about half of thepassengers to disembark during an all-night standoff with Cubanauthorities. The plane flew to Key West, Florida, the next dayand Wilson surrendered to authorities.His wife was not charged, and she has settled in Florida.
The hijacking was one of three in March and April by Cubanstrying to flee communist-run Cuba for the United States. Cubaexecuted three hijackers who commandeered a Havana ferry with50 passengers on board on April 2.
Although Havana and Washington have no diplomatic ties,Havana allowed the Cuban pilot of of the hijacked plane totravel to Key West to testify at Wilson's trial in July.