15 May, 2024 @ 12:42
2 mins read

WATCH: Drug boss dubbed ‘The Fly’ who ‘ordered an assassination in Marbella’ is freed during prison transfer after gun-toting thugs open fire on police car and kill two guards

The inmate remains at large

AN international manhunt is underway after a drug lord accused of ordering an assassination in Marbella last year escaped from custody in France following a deadly ambush which killed two guards and critically injured two others.

Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said that an ‘unprecedented’ operation involving over 450 officers is underway in Normandy after a gang of armed men sprang Mohammed Amra, an inmate known as ‘the Fly’, from a prison van.

The 30-year old, who has 13 previous convictions and was being questioned in connection with a murder enquiry, remains at large following the ambush at a tollbooth on the A154 motorway near Incarville in northern France.

Amra was being transported from Rouen to his jail in Evreux when a black BMW rammed into the first of the two prison vans.

READ MORE: Prison workers in Spain’s Catalunya region stage unprecedented protests after female chef killed by inmate

Mohammed Amra, known as ‘the Fly’, remains at large.

CCTV images of the incident show armed men wearing balaclavas surrounding the van, shooting the officers with pump-action shotguns and machine guns before freeing Amra in a highly sophisticated operation.

Two of the guards, who were armed with pistols, were killed. Two others were said to be in a life-threatening condition, whilst a fifth officer escaped with minor injuries.

The gang members set fire to the BMW before fleeing in a second vehicle, an Audi, which was later found burnt out nearby. 

The Paris prosecution office said that Amra’s most recent conviction was for robbery on May 7 when he was handed an 18 month prison term – in a separate case, he had also been charged with ‘kidnapping leading to death’.

According to French media, the charges related to the death of a man who had been shot in the head and left in the boot of a car which was burnt out in Marseille.

Two days prior to the ambush, Amra had been caught trying to saw the bars of his cell in an apparent attempt at escape. 

‘The Fly’ is also accused of ordering the murder of a Frenchman in the luxury Marbella marina of Puerto Banus in July 2023.

French judicial police suspect that Amra ordered the murder of a Frenchman nicknamed Mehdi, a possible rival who had links to drug trafficking, from his prison cell.

Amra has not yet been charged in connection with the failed assassination attempt, but Spanish police had suspected French involvement as images circulated on social media showing the attacker, armed with an automatic assault rifle, wearing a Olympique Lyon football shirt. 

The inmate is said to have ties to a gang in the southern city of Marseille, which has been plagued by a wave of drug-related gang violence. 

President Emmanuel Macron said on X: “The attack, which cost the lives of prison officers, is a shock to us all. The Nation stands alongside the families, the injured and their colleagues. Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime so that justice can be done in the name of the French people. We will be intractable”.

Sebastien Nicolas, general secretary of the National Penitentiary Union which represents prison officers said the ‘attack of unprecedented violence’ was the ‘worst incident in our profession for 30 years’.

On Wednesday morning, demonstrations were held in front of prisons in support of the two officers killed on Tuesday – at Caen prison, officers said that there would be no activities or visits for any inmates in protest.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, the justice minister, said that one of the officers, named as Fabruce Moello, 52, had a wife and twins who are due to celebrate their 21st birthday in the coming days. The other victim, named as Arnaud Garcia, 34, has left a wife who is five months pregnant.

Tuesday’s attack occured on the same day that France’s Senate released a key report on drug trafficking which warned that the country was facing a ‘tipping point’ over rising drug-fuelled violence that constituted ‘a threat to the fundamental interests of the nation’. 

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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