French gangster makes dramatic helicopter escape from prison

Three armed and well-trained men reportedly presented themselves at the prison and demanded Faid's release

Three armed and well-trained men reportedly presented themselves at the prison and demanded Faid's release

"It was a spectacular escape".

According to reports, three accomplices, armed with Kalashnikovs, showed up at the prison entrance demanding Faid's release.

Faid was serving a 25-year prison sentence for a 2010 failed robbery in which a 26-year-old municipal police officer was killed. Gunmen then took Faid from the visiting room and fled in the helicopter.

In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway vehicle. Unarmed guards said they could do nothing to prevent it.

The helicopter was later found in a northeastern suburb of Paris about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the prison, one source said.

Faid is believed to have fled by auto along with his accomplices. All the hostages were released unharmed.

The brochure included no mention of a courtyard - large enough for a light utility helicopter such as, say, an Aerospatiale Alouette II - that would, notably, be the only part of the prison not covered by "anti-helicopter netting", according to the Associated Press.

"A few months ago, the prison's staff said they saw drones flying over the prison", Belloubet said. Investigators were questioning Faid's brother on Sunday afternoon.

A notorious French criminal serving 25 years for murder used a helicopter to escape from a prison near Paris.

Faid is a well-known criminal in France, particularly after his high-stakes escape from prison in 2013.

He was on the run for six weeks before police captured him in a hotel with an accomplice.

In the 1990s, he led a gang involved in robbing banks and armored vans.

He was arrested in 1998 following a global manhunt that tracked him to Switzerland and Israel.

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. He received an eight-year prison sentence in 2011 - interrupted by the 2013 breakout.

Less than a decade later, on a warm Sunday morning, a small white helicopter would fly over the prison's plentiful foliage and land in the aforementioned courtyard.

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