Home World News France Launches Massive Manhunt For Druglord Freed In Deadly Ambush

France Launches Massive Manhunt For Druglord Freed In Deadly Ambush

Gunmen in balaclavas ambushed a prison van in northern France to free a drug dealer known as "The Fly," killing two prison guardsand severely wounding three others.
France manhunt for escaped druglord
The brazen shootout and escape happened despite the tight security arrangements in place for the Olympics in France. (BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS)

PARIS: Authorities in France launched a major manhunt on Tuesday after gunmen in balaclavas ambushed a prison van in northern France to free a drug dealer known as “The Fly,” killing two prison guards in the process and severely wounding three others.

The brazen, planned attack underlines the growing threat of drug crime across Europe, the world’s No.1 cocaine market. It took place around 0900 GMT at a toll booth in Incarville in the Eure region of northern France.

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The fugitive inmate, named Mohamed Amra, is a 30-year-old drug dealer from northern France, police sources said. One of the sources said Amra is suspected of ordering a murder in Marseille, and has ties to the city’s powerful “Blacks” gang.

Interior Minister GĂ©rald Darmanin said a major manhunt had been launched. “All means are being used to find these criminals. On my instructions, several hundred police officers and gendarmes were mobilized,” he wrote on X.

Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti said the prison van was attacked while Amra was being driven from a prison in Evreux to meet an investigating judge in Rouen. He said two of the injured officers were in critical condition.

“Absolutely everything will be done to find the perpetrators of this despicable crime,” he told BFM TV. “These are people for whom life means nothing. They will be arrested, judged and punished according to the crime they committed.”

Images on social media showed at least two men in balaclavas carrying rifles circling near an SUV that was in flames. The SUV appeared to have been rammed into the front of the prison van.

A flood of cocaine entering Europe each year has turbocharged organized crime across the continent, leading to ever-more violent confrontations with police and deadly turf wars between gangs. Drug-related killings now rival terrorism as the European Union’s top security threat, according to the bloc’s Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

Marseille has been the epicenter of France’s gang violence, with a particularly violent war between trafficking clans.
(REUTERS)