Drones buzzed French prison before notorious criminal's daring escape

Cheryl Sanders
July 4, 2018

A gangster who was previously France's most wanted man has escaped from his Paris prison in a helicopter.

Redoine Faid escaped after three heavily armed accomplices landed the helicopter in the prison courtyard.

It's not the first time that Faid, 46, has gone on the lam.

He also had a 10-year sentence to serve for a previous escape, in 2013, when he blasted his way out of jail with explosives and spent six weeks on the run.

Police tracked him down in the suburbs of Paris and arrested him at the end of the following May.

But his stiffest sentence came this year, when he was sentenced to 25 years over a botched 2010 robbery in which policewoman Aurelie Fouquet was killed.

A third man was left behind at the courtyard to keep an eye on the pilot and guard the helicopter.

A auto abandoned by French robber Redoine Faid at O'Parinor shopping mall parking after his escape onboard a helicopter from a prison in Reau on July 1, 2018. In it, he claimed to have been inspired by the USA gangster film "Scarface", the Telegraph wrote, but said his life of crime was behind him.

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. The helicopter was found burned out.

The crime took place when Faid's brother was visiting him.

The helicopter used in Faid's escape landed near Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy airport north of Paris where a fourth individual was waiting with a black Renault Mégane getaway auto.

It was the only open area in the complex not covered by wiring that would prevent a helicopter from landing.

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said authorities are urgently looking for gaps in the security system that would have allowed the brazen break-out.

Before that incident, Faid had been released from prison after convincing the parole board that he renounced his criminal past.

Philippe Veroni, deputy director of France's organized crime police unit, said Tuesday that Faid had clearly planned the prison break carefully and had a band of accomplices willing to risk everything.

His writing career led to police giving him another nickname, "The Author" and Faid, who has a cult following in the tough immigrant suburbs outside Paris where he grew up, has made several television appearances promoting his work.

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