September 27, 2011
He had been on the run for four decades. He escaped from prison when Richard Nixon was in the White House, joined the Black Liberation Army in Detroit, hijacked a plane and (in)famously demanded that FBI agents deliver ransom money in bathing suits. And they did.
Now, after a manhunt spanning three continents that often appeared to run cold, the FBI has finally found George Wright.
At age 68, he was living quietly in the resort of Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal when he was arrested Monday.
The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for murder. Portuguese judicial authorities could not be reached Tuesday for details of the extradition process.
Wright is fighting extradition, a U.S. federal agent said, and his next court appearance in Portugal is in about two weeks.
Wright’s life story reads like an international crime novel. In 1962, at the age of 19, he and three associates carried out a series of robberies in New Jersey. Wright and another man shot and killed a World War II veteran in a gas station robbery in Farmingdale.
He was arrested soon afterward and, after pleading no defense, was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison. But in 1970, Wright escaped from Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, reportedly stealing the warden’s car to make his getaway.
Wright made his way to Detroit, then a hotbed of militant black politics, and joined the Black Liberation Army. (He is also reputed to have made some money during this period as a part-time model, using an alias.)
On July 31, 1972, Wright and four other members of the Black Liberation Army went to Detroit airport and boarded Delta Flight 841 for Miami. Wright was dressed as a priest and carried a handgun in a hollowed-out Bible.
Airport security was different in those days. Various Palestinian groups were hijacking planes regularly, as were individuals keen to go to Cuba. Altogether, the U.S. Department of Transportation recorded 364 hijackings worldwide between 1968 and 1972: more than one a week on average.
The hijackers of Delta 841 — three men and two women accompanied by three children — seized the plane as it approached Miami. The FBI says “subsequent investigation identified Wright as one of the hijackers.”
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
756975 599782 79
his path of destiny = 79 = Anger. Furious. Outrage. Going ballistic.
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