Mexico City – The Mexican Attorney General's Office said Thursday it extradited a former flight attendant who had fled the United States after his arrest for setting fire to a plane's bathroom.
Eder H. Rojas, a Mexican national, was wanted for extradition by a federal court in North Dakota for setting the fire 35 minutes after the Compass Airlines flight carrying 76 people took off in 2008 from Minneapolis bound for Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Rojas, then 19, another flight attendant and a passenger extinguished the blaze after the fire alarm sounded, but the plane still was forced make an emergency landing in the North Dakota city of Fargo.
After being questioned by FBI agents, Rojas confessed that he was upset with the airline for making him work the Minneapolis-Regina route and that was why he used a lighter to set fire to a packet of toilet paper in the plane's bathroom.
Other flight crew members testified that Rojas had asked for an extra packet of toilet paper before the plane took off and that led investigators to suspect the Mexican, who eventually confessed.
After his arrest, the suspect escaped from a low-security detention facility and fled across the border into Mexico.
Rojas was subsequently arrested in Mexico by Federal Police officers and jailed in Mexico City, the AG's office said in a statement.
The Mexican government extradited Rojas after he had exhausted all avenues of appeal and the suspect was handed over at the Mexico City airport to a group of U.S. Marshals, the AG's office said.
Rojas faces up to 20 years in prison.