Who is “The Fly”, chased throughout France: Mohamed Amra, the man who escaped in the bloody attack on a penitentiary van


By John

Mohamed Amra, the man who escaped in the bloody assault on a prison van on a French motorway, has a long history of convictions for violent crimes that began when he was just 15 years old. A 30-year-old from Rouen in northwestern France, known as “La Mouche” (The Fly), “he is very well known to the judiciary,” Paris chief prosecutor Laure Beccuau told reporters.

Ties with organized crime

It has close ties with the organized crime, another source said, and is suspected of ordering drug-related killings. Another source said that Amra runs his own drug trafficking network, yet none of his 13 previous convictions – for crimes ranging from armed robbery to extortion – were directly linked to narcotics trafficking, said Beccuau, who is leading the investigation into the attack to the highway.

Detention and new charges

Since January 2022 he had been detained in Evreux prison, in the north-western region of Normandy, serving several sentences, including for criminal association, extortion, robbery, gun violence, and participation in an illegal automobile rodeo. The latest conviction, for robbery, was handed down only last week. At the time of his escape he was also facing two new charges, one for attempted murder and another for complicity in a murder in Marseille, on the French Riviera, a center of drug trafficking and gang violence.

Attorney's statements

His lawyer, Hugues Vigier, told broadcaster BFMTV that he was “stunned” by yesterday's events, adding that he found it “difficult to imagine” that his client could be implicated in “such acts of indiscriminate, dramatic, insane and unforgivable violence ». In a last-ditch attempt to defend his client, the lawyer suggested “another possible explanation” for the attack: that Amra was not freed, but kidnapped for revenge.

Police opinions

The newspaper 20 Minutes quotes a source from the police according to which, although the position of Amra is at the top of the Marseille underworld, “he was not believed capable of such a high profile operation”.

Latest developments

Today Amra was due to attend a disciplinary hearing after guards discovered the bars of his cell had been partially sawed off, prosecutor Beccuau said. French media reported that he would be placed in solitary confinement after the alleged escape attempt, which was too recent for further security measures to be activated.