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Notorious French Gangster Flees Paris Jail In Dramatic Helicopter Escape

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A notorious gangster who was once France’s most wanted, has pulled off an epic jailbreak, escaping from prison by helicopter, according to the Telegraph.

Rédoine Faïd, 46, was flown out of the Réau prison located in Paris’ south-eastern suburbs on Sunday, aided by two heavily armed men, local police said. A Belgium-registered helicopter landed in the courtyard of the prison, believed to be the only spot not protected by a net, sources told Reuters.

Faid was being visited by his brother in prison when the men burst into the room on Sunday morning and extracted him. A third man waited in the helicopter in the prison courtyard to watch over the pilot, a flying instructor whose aircraft the men hijacked in a nearby airfield and whom they forced to take part in the dramatic operation.

A union representative at Reau told BFM television that "two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands" entered the prison to look for Faid and used a grinding machine to cut open the door that directly leads to the visiting room.

Le Monde newspaper reported the gunmen took about two minutes to remove Faïd from the prison. The helicopter that was used for the daring escape flew across the Paris region from the jail southeast of the capital, before being dumped not far from Charles de Gaulle airport to the northeast of the city. 

The aircraft was then set alight but was only partly damaged and the fire was extinguished when police found it a short time later. Media reports said the pilot had been released and was not injured.

Hours later, the gangsters remained on the run, with a massive manhunt underway across the country.

Gunman and  Faïd abandoned this helicopter after fleeing from Réau prison in Seine-et-Marne. (Source: AFP/Daily Mirror)

According to The Telegraph, the courtyard it landed in was the only one not fitted with anti-helicopter nets as it is used by inmates only when they are being admitted or released from the jail.

Spectacular helicopter jailbreaks became a regular embarrassment for French penal authorities until the late 2000s, but have petered out since prisoner exercise yards in most jails were equipped with nets to prevent choppers from landing.

Front view of the burned-out helicopter. (Source: AFP/Daily Mirror)

After the helicopter that flew Faid out of jail was torched, its occupants fled by car in a black Renault Megane which they later dumped in the underground car park of a shopping centre near the airport.

They switched to a white van with the company name Enedis marked on the vehicle. A huge manhunt has been launched to track them down. All police and gendarme units across Paris were put on alert and ordered to set up checkpoints that “take into account the dangerousness of the fugitive and his possible accomplices.”

The helicopter was found 40 miles from the prison. (Source: AFP/Daily Mirror) 

Faid’s brother, who was visiting him at the jail, has been taken into custody for questioning.

French authorities investigate the site where the helicopter landed. (Source: AFP/Daily Mirror)

Réau prison, where gunmen used a helicopter to extract Faïd. (Source: AFP/Daily Mirror)

It was the second time Faïd had pulled off such a daring jailbreak – in 2013, he took four correctional officers hostage and used small explosives to blast open doors and gates to make his great escape. He was then captured six weeks later on the outskirts of Paris.

Faid, who has said he was inspired by US films such as "Scarface" and "Heat", was serving a 25 year prison sentence for his role in the 2010 hold-up of a cash-transport van in the Paris area, in which a 26-year-old policewoman was killed. She was shot as the gang fled and used kalashnikov assault rifles to fire at police cars pursuing them along the busy A4 motorway.

Two members of the gang are currently serving lengthy jail sentences for her murder.

Faid has made several television appearances and co-authored two books about his delinquent youth and rise as a criminal in the Paris suburbs.  In one of those published in 2010 he claimed he had given up his life of crime.

Prior to the 2010 robbery, he had been released from a previous stint of a decade behind bars after convincing parole officials that he regretted his criminal past and was determined to start afresh.

* * *

France Bleu, a local broadcaster in France, provides Faïd’s timeline of crime:

1995 – First robbery

At 23, Redoine Faïd shoots a BNP agency in his hometown of Creil (Oise), taking hostage the family of the director of the bank .

1996-1998 – Braking and sentencing

In 1996, he directs a computer company Evry. The following year, he attacked an armored van in Villepinte and was arrested in 1998 . He is sentenced to 18 years of criminal imprisonment.

2010 – Redoine the repented

In 2009, Redoine Faïd presents himself as a repentant after receiving a conditional release . He publishes a book “Robber, cities to crime” and promotes it in the media.

June 2011 – The death of Aurélie Fouquet

Arrest in Villeneuve-d’Ascq. Redoine Faïd is suspected of being the brain of the attempted robbery of Villiers-sur-Marne in May 2010 when the municipal police Aurélie Fouquet, 26, is shot.

April 13, 2013 – The first escape

Redoine Faïd escapes from the Sequedin prison near Lille (North) in a spectacular way: he detonates several prison gates and takes four people hostage. He was arrested in a hotel in Seine-et-Marne on May 29, 2013.

April 14, 2016 – Conviction for the murder of Aurélie Fouquet

Redoine Faïd was first sentenced by the Paris Assize court to 18 years in prison for the murder of the municipal policewoman, Aurélie Fouquet, in June 2011. On appeal, he finally received 25 years’ imprisonment , conviction pronounced quite recently, in April 2018.

2017 – Convictions for a robbery and his first escape

In March 2017, Redoine Faïd was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his escape from Sequedin prison in 2013. He was shot a few months later, in October 2017, 18 years in prison for the robbery of an armored van in the Pas-de-Calais in 2011.

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