Rédoine Faïd: “We all put our lives on hold…” The former head of the brigade that tracked down the fugitive says

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THE GREAT ESCAPE This Tuesday, the trial of Rédoine Faïd's escape in 2018 begins. After making himself beautiful in a helicopter, the man evaded authorities for 93 days. Commissioner Christophe Foissey, who led the investigations to find him, tells

Rédoine Faïd : « We all put our life in parentheses… » The ex-head of the brigade which tracked down the fugitive tells

The wanted notice issued after the escape of Rédoine Faïd from Réau prison, July 1, 2018. — AP/

  • Rédoine Faïd is on trial from this Tuesday and for seven weeks for having escaped, on July 1, 2018, from Réau prison, in Seine-et-Marne, thanks to a commando arriving by helicopter. He faces life imprisonment.
  • Faïd was arrested after 93 days on the run in Creil.
  • The former head of the national fugitive search brigade, commissioner Christophe Foissey, who supervised the research, returns for20 Minuteson this extraordinary investigation.

Four months of research of rare intensity. 93 days, precisely. That’s how long it took to complete the project. the National Fugitive Search Brigade (BNRF) to locate Rédoine Faïd. On July 1, 2018, the repeat offender robber made his way to the ultra-secure Reau prison, in Seine-et-Marne. The scenario is worthy of an American film: his accomplices came to get him by helicopter, cutting up one by one. one the doors with a thermal grinder. Less than an hour later, the commando disappeared into the wild. Rédoine Faïd then becomes the most sought-after man in the world. from France.

How was his hunt organized? Which tracks were followed? explored? How was it? located in a small apartment in Creil? As the trial of this incredible escape opens this Tuesday, for seven weeks, Commissioner Christophe Foissey, then at The head of the BNRF, the fugitive search brigade, returns to this extraordinary investigation. Certainly one of the most significant of his career.

How did you learn of the escape of Rédoine Faïd ?

It was my assistant who called me, I had just returned from vacation. My first feeling was: of astonishment. We knew well that Rédoine Faïd was a seasoned criminal, he had already known that. proven. But from there to escape from the Network, which is considered one of the most secure prisons… By helicopter and hellip; We already had Summer seized when he escaped from Lille-Sequedin prison in 2013, we knew who we were dealing with. He's a seasoned criminal, we tell ourselves that it's going to be complicated. and at the same time, we have an advantage: we don't start from nowhere, we know our habits, we already have experience. worked on him.

An hour after his escape, the trace of Rédoine Faïd and his accomplices was lost on the A1 motorway. How do you organize yourself within the service to find him?

At BNRF, we very rarely work on flagrant escapes. Usually, the criminals we are looking for have been carefully chosen according to a certain number of criteria, we have time to work. There, you have to go quickly. Fortunately for us, a few months before Rédoine Faïd's escape, we had to have urgently search for a file S who had escaped from Brest prison. çThis gave us a sort of life-size exercise, we had defined a procedure if it happened again, we had organized ourselves to respond. to be immediately operational.

The other files were immediately processed. put on hold so that the entire brigade – which represents around twenty people – can concentrate on Rédoine Faïd.

RéRéFïd : “ We all put our lives on hold… » The ex-head of the brigade that tracked down the fugitive says< /p>Commissioner Christophe Foissey, who was at the the head of the BNRF during the escape of Rédoine Faïd – Christophe Foissey

How did you proceed?

We did as before; every time when we are looking for a fugitive: we start by being interested in the fugitive; its environment. We explore, circle by circle, his family, friends and criminal entourage. In this, his previous escape was of enormous use to us since we already had the opportunity to escape. established these links.

In parallel with this work, two other groups are set up. One works on telephony, the second studies the information flowing in. During his run in 2013, it was a tip that allowed us to locate him. Unfortunately this time, they all turned out to be false.

At the start of the investigation, do you fear that he may have gone away? abroad?

Çthis is one of the avenues explored, we are not closing any doors. But running away is expensive and we are not convinced that he has sufficient financial support to leave. When part of its logistics was found somewhat by chance by a hunter in the Creil forest *, this confirmed this intuition. We tell ourselves that he is not far away, that he moves within his family circle. We are not very surprised: joining forces with Rédoine Faïd, for a major trafficker, it’s too risky, he is too well known.

Rédoine Faïd and his accomplices leave a lot of clues on their run…

As in 2013, we see that his escape is very professional, that he probably spent time in prison. days and days to go study the smallest detail, spot flaws. On the other hand, his run is much less so. He was almost arrested; by chance by a gendarmerie brigade **. Even if he ran away, for us it is an encouraging sign: we tell ourselves that he is weak. But if he had gone away abroad, we would have ended up finding him. Fugitives are being arrested on the other side of the world, it just takes longer.

Tracking down Rédoine Faïd, is it like tracking down any fugitive?

This is the most intense case we have had at this time. to treat when I was at home squad. For four months, the entire brigade put their lives on hold. We worked weekends, late evenings. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, he challenged us. But basically, his profile is not that different from certain fugitives we have dealt with. We worked on much more elaborate, longer rides. I have in mind a very big drug trafficker who we were looking for. for one year abroad or a robber who took several months to arrest. locate. The difference is its reputation. and its capacity to escape.

How do you end up locating him?

Thanks to; a very big job on the telephone. We passed sifting through thousands of lines. The objective is to find our means of communication, or at least numbers that may interest us, particularly in those around us. Rédoine Faïd is a very discreet and very suspicious person, his phone is turned off all the time. Little to nothing little, it allows you to advance on a city ***, to locate a building. We then launch operational surveillance and we spot two silhouettes in burqas, we say to ourselves that it could be a match.

When the operation is launched, on October 3 2018 in the morning, you are convinced that it is at hand. inside?

No. We have very strong presumptions but no certainty. We targeted two apartments. The first is on the ground floor. We go in, he’s not there. We were wrong. He is finally in the one on the 4th floor. He is arrested without there being the slightest exchange of fire, neither he nor his accomplices put up any resistance. At that moment, we feel a real relief, we say to ourselves that we have succeeded.

* Part of the logistics used by Rédoine Faïd and his accomplices – notably weapons and a thermal grinder – was discovered by a hunter in the Halatte forest, near Creil, on July 9, 2018.

** On July 24, a crew gendarmerie spot in Piscop, in Val d'Oise, a car on an emergency lane. They want to carry out a check but she storms off again. The vehicle was found abandoned a few minutes later in Sarcelles.

*** The search then turned towards the Plateau district, in Creil.