Published: Mon, July 02, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

WATCH the moment notorious French gangster makes helicopter jailbreak

WATCH the moment notorious French gangster makes helicopter jailbreak

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

Faid was sprung from a prison in Paris by two accomplices who used smoke bombs and angle grinders to break into the jail and whisk the fugitive to a waiting helicopter.

Heavily armed men landed a helicopter in a courtyard, used a grinding machine to open the door of the visiting room where Faid was seeing his brother, and took the prisoner to freedom.

Officials said drones seen buzzing above the prison months ago may have been on a reconnaissance mission ahead of the escape.

Police later found the helicopter burned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, north of Paris.

It was the second time Faid has pulled off a spectacular jailbreak.

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She was shot as the gang fled and used Kalashnikov assault rifles to fire at police cars pursuing them along the busy A4 motorway. The manhunt is ongoing and an interior ministry official told AFP that almost 3,000 French police were recruited for the search.

In April 2013, Faid staged another shameless jailbreak by pulling a gun from his bag in the visitor's room of the prison near Sequedin in northern France and taking four prison guards hostage.

Faid's brother was in custody on Monday.

At the same time, a helicopter landed in the prison courtyard, the only part of the complex not covered by anti-helicopter netting.

He fled with three accomplices, according to the sources.

His infamy has increased since then following appearances in several television shows and the co-authoring of books recounting his past and rise as a criminal in the tough suburbs of Paris.

Media reports said the pilot had been released and was not injured.

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A police manhunt has since been launched across the entire Paris region.

Faid has a violent criminal record dating to at least the 1990s, when he organized the robberies of banks, shops and armored vehicles.

He had been released on parole in 2009, after spending 10 years behind bars for a series of robberies.

He penned a confessional book about his life of crime and embarked on an extensive media tour in 2010. The 26-year-old was killed after a dramatic chase down the motorway in which the robbers fired AK47 rifles at police cars on a busy motorway. Two members of the gang are serving lengthy jail sentences for her murder.

But he was arrested in 2011 on suspicion of masterminding a robbery that resulted in the death of a police officer.

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