WASHINGTON (16 Sept. 1995 ) - Convicted arms trafficker and former CIA agent Frank Terpil, who fled the United States in 1980, is under house arrest in Cuba, the Washington Post reported in its Sunday editions.
Quoting unidentified sources, the newspaper said Terpil, one of the most notorious fugitives from U.S. justice, was detained in Havana about three weeks ago. Cuban authorities were investigating his business practices on the island, according to the report from Havana.
Terpil fled the United States in September 1980 in the face of charges he sold 10,000 automatic weapons to undercover police agents. He was convicted in absentia in 1981 in a New York state court and sentenced to 53 years in prison.
Terpil, 56, also was charged in federal court with training terrorists in Libya, and allegedly collaborated with another renegade CIA agent, Edwin Wilson, to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons and explosives to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the late 1970s. U.S. officials told the Post that Cuban authorities had not informed them of Terpil's detention.
Terpil is the second major U.S. fugitive to be detained by Cuban authorities in the past few months. In May, fugitive financier Robert Vesco was arrested on charges of trying to cheat the government of President Fidel Castro. One source quoted by the Post said Cuban authorities were conducting an ongoing investigation into Terpil's activities.
Terpil worked as a courier and communications expert with the CIA from 1965 to 1972.