Manhunt for French Prisoner Who Escaped After Van Ambushed

Notorious drug dealer Mohamed Amra, AKA “The Fly,” escaped custody last Tuesday after gunmen ambushed a prison van in northern France, killing two guards and wounding three others.

Amra, 30, was convicted of burglary on May 10 and was being held at the Val De Reuil prison. He was also indicted in Marseille for kidnapping and murder.

According to Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, the armed assailants were lying in wait to ambush the prison van transporting Amra back to prison in Évreux after he appeared in a hearing with an investigating judge in Rouen.

The gunmen rammed their car into the van head-on as it was traveling on the A154 freeway. A second car then came from behind and boxed in the van. Armed men emerged from the two vehicles and opened fire.

Amra and the gunmen then fled the scene.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described the efforts to find Amra as “unprecedented.” He said 450 officers had been deployed in Normandy to search for the fugitive and the armed men who freed him.

Darmanin said other countries were also assisting in Amra’s capture.

Interpol confirmed last Wednesday that a red notice had been issued at France’s request for the arrest of the drug dealer believed to have ties with Marseille’s powerful “Blacks” drug gang.

In an interview with BFM TV, Amra’s attorney Hugues Vigier said the violent ambush did not fit with the person he knew. He said his client had attempted to escape Val de Rueil prison last Sunday by attempting to saw through the bars of his cell.

The brutality of last Tuesday’s ambush shocked the country. Prison workers staged moments of silence outside of prisons in Paris and other cities to honor the two guards killed in the attack.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Interior Minister Darmanin said he was hopeful that Amra would be caught within days. He said the manhunt was progressing and officials were employing “considerable” means to track him down.