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Helicopter jailbreak gangster behind bars in high-security French prison

media This file photo taken on September 24, 2013 shows the entrance of the Sud-Francilien prison in Reau, outside Paris. French armed robber Redoine Faid has escaped from prison in Reau on board of a helicopter on July 1, 2018. Thomas SAMSON / AFP

Redoine Faïd, the gangster at the centre of a major manhunt after he escaped from prison in July in a dramatic dash for freedom using helicopter in July, was jailed last night at in one of France’s most secure prisons in the north of the country.



According to reports in French media this morning, Faïd arrived at prison of Vendin-le-Viei in the Pas de Calais at around 0:40.

Faid is likely to be placed in solitary confinement and probably without any cell neighbors, according to France Info, because he is considered a high escape-risk prisoner.

"He is aware of the situation but remains combative," said his lawyer Raphael Chiche in a short statement to the French news agency AFP

The prison of Vendin-le-Vieil is home to detainees deemed among the most difficult and violent. Salah Abdeslam, last known member of the commando of the November 2015 attacks, was detained in this prison during his trial in Brussels.

Faïd appeared on Wednesday in front of three investigating judges of the JIRS (specialized interregional judges) of Paris, specializing in organized crime cases.

In his arrest warrant, he was charged with "organized gang evasion", "kidnapping and forcible confinement", "criminal conspiracy for the commission of crimes" and "transport of weapons or explosive device.”

Faid was apprehended in the Oise region north of Paris along with his brother Rachid and two other family members, one source said, confirming earlier media reports.

A massive manhunt was launched after Faid's daring July 1 escape, in which two heavily armed accomplices used smoke bombs and angle grinders to break through doors and whisk him to a waiting helicopter.

Faid, a career criminal with multiple convictions for armed robbery who had escaped from prison once before, was sprung from the jail in Reau, 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of Paris.

Around 100 police were deployed to track down the 46-year-old, who has cited movie baddies such as Tony Montana in "Scarface" as an inspiration and said he discovered his "calling" at the age of 12.

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