French Gangster Uses Helicopter To Escape In Dramatic Prison Break

Arturo Kim
July 2, 2018

Police at the scene where the helicopter landed near a road in Gonesse, north of Paris.

The men, according to Dailymail, used smoke bombs and angle grinders on the wardens to aide their escape.

A union representative for the prison told French news channel BFM that "two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands" broke into the visiting room with a grinder.

Faid was sentenced to 25 years over the death in 2010 of a young policewoman during a botched robbery.

Earlier Sunday, Faid's associates had taken a helicopter pilot hostage at a nearby flight school, forcing him to fly to the prison, the BBC reported.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said a helicopter landed in a courtyard, which was not covered by any nets. In 2013, he used explosives hidden in tissue packs to escape another facility.

As soon as the gangster flew out of jail, a massive search was launched by the French National Police across greater Paris.

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Two gunmen jumped from the helicopter to free Faid from the visitors' room where he was meeting one of his brothers before escaping in the helicopter, she said. Faid and his accomplices are believed to have ditched the airplane and escaped by vehicle. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.

This is Faïd's second prison break - in 2013 he escaped less than half an hour before arriving at a prison in northern France.

He claimed to have turned his back on criminality, but a year later was involved in the failed robbery for which he was serving a sentence at the prison in Réau in the Seine-et-Marne region.

Faid was once France's most-wanted man and previously said his life of crime was inspired by films such as "Scarface", according to AFP.

He was arrested in 1998 following a global manhunt that tracked him to Switzerland and Israel. He was on the run for 6 weeks before he was recaptured in a hotel room.

In 2009, Faid wrote a book titled "Robber: Cities of Organized Crime", in which he explored his childhood growing up in Paris' marginalised neighbourhoods, or banlieues.

Still, he was the suspected mastermind of the attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a high-speed chase and a shootout with police that killed 26-year-old Aurelie Fouquet.

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