Gangster flees French prison using chopper

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

The helicopter was later found abandoned in the town of Garges-les-Gonesse, in the northern suburbs of Paris.

The most famous helicopter escape in France occurred in 1986 when bank robber Michel Vaujour's wife, Nadine Bourgain, landed a chopper at the La Sante Prison on the Left Bank of Paris, plucked up her husband and flew away.

Dressed all in black, two men wearing balaclavas and police armbands got off the chopper and entered the prison to look for Faid.

Redoine Faid was serving a long-term sentence at a prison south of Paris for armed robbery and the murder of a policewoman in 2010 after a heist that went wrong.

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.

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According to the sources, three armed gunmen arrived at the entrance of the prison demanding Faid's release to create a diversion.

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

In his 2013 jailbreak, he briefly took four guards hostage with a pistol before escaping in a waiting getaway vehicle. Nobody was wounded or taken hostage, according to the authorities.

The ministry added that the prosecutor's office had launched an investigation and a search operation had been put in place by police.

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.

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Belloubet said Faid was in a room visiting with his brother, Brahim, when the commandos burst in, grabbed Faid and hustled him to the waiting whirlybird. Faid's brother has been taken into custody for questioning.

Redoine Faid, 46, who previously said his life of crime was inspired by films such as Scarface.

He fled with three accomplices, according to the sources.

He was captured six weeks later in a hotel outside of the French capital.

Prior to the 2013 escape, Faid 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.

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