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U.S. Citizen Deported From Nicaragua

April 18, 1989

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) _ Authorities on Monday deported a U.S. citizen who had been detained since his plane made an emergency landing in Nicaragua about three weeks ago.

A government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Arthur Henry Burton had told authorities he was en route from New Orleans to Cartagena, Colombia, to pick up a shipment of 440 pounds of cocaine.

Burton, 39, whose hometown was not available, was handed over by Nicaraguan authorities to U.S. Consul Atin Obumba at Agusto Cesar Sandino International Airport.

The U.S. consul, who refused to speak to reporters, accompanied Burton to the airplane boarding ramp. Burton also refused comment.

Burton signed papers before boarding the Costa Rican commercial airliner, which left for Miami. He appeared to be traveling alone.

Burton was arrested March 25 in Puerto Cabezas, 185 miles northeast of Managua, where he landed the Aerocommander R-61BT plane he was piloting after encountering problems with the fuel tanks.

″There’s no charge against him in Nicaragua, apart from having violated Nicaraguan air space,″ the Nicaraguan official said. ″The U.S. authorities will see what to do with him, because apparently he’s under investigation by them.″

Lou Falino, a U.S. Embassy spokesman, would not provide details about Burton’s case.

Officials also arrested Abimael Castillo Canur, 38, of Belize, a passenger on the plane. The Foreign Ministry official provided no details about Castillo’s situation.

Burton is the first American to be deported to Nicaragua to the United States since Nicaragua offered in February to cooperate with U.S. officials to combat drug trafficking.

The United States backs the Contra rebels, who have been seeking to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government. But Nicaragua has spoken in favor of improving relations with the United States.

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