• France's news in English

Armed men break French drug kingpin out of jail

Joshua Melvin · 4 Jun 2014, 13:29

Published: 04 Jun 2014 13:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Up to five armed men rushed a police transport vehicle on Tuesday and freed a drug kingpin who was being taken back to prison after a routine medical check up in a hospital.

As the prisoner and guards were about to step into a van outside the Delafontaine hospital around 11am in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis, the attackers piled out of a car and threatened the guards, French daily Le Parisien reported. He was to be taken back to the prison in Villepinte.

The assailants then sprayed the guards with tear gas and escaped with 40-year-old Ouaihid Ben Faïza, who is one of the bosses of the drug trade in the gritty town of La Courneuve, north of Paris. The escape vehicle was found abandoned minutes later and in flames.

Faïza's been behind bars since July 2011 for a smuggling operation that saw marijuana brought from Morocco into the Netherlands and finally to France. The operation netted him an eight sentence in prison. His brother was also convicted in connection with the smuggling.

While on trial Faïza wasn't willing to admit to much. 

"It’s clearly you in the wiretaps, Mr. Ouaihid Ben Faïza, who’s placing the orders,” a judge said, referring to an order for 23 kilos of marijuana.

Faïza disagreed with the judge's assessment, saying, “I have nothing to do with drug trafficking. I’ve already been incarcerated for it. It would have been stupid to get back into it."

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available