Prison break attempt: Amsterdam man is 7th arrest in helicopter plot

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention centerPhoto: Politie

The police arrested a seventh suspect for a failed attempt to break criminal Benaouf A. out of the Roermond prison using a hijacked helicopter in October. The 24-year-old from Amsterdam was arrested on December 1st, but his arrest was kept quiet until the magistrate remanded him into custody for 90 days this week, Het Parool reports.

On October 11th a group of Amsterdam criminals and a pilot from Colombia planned to hijack a Robinson R66 helicopter from the Kempen airfield in Budel, Noord-Brabant and use it to break Benaouf A. out of prison. The police got wind of the plans, and managed to stop them. During a chase, a SWAT team shot and killed a 30-year-old French-Moroccan man near Roosteren.

The other suspects already in custody are five men from Amsterdam and the Colombian pilot. Two of the suspects are 19 years old, the others are 21, 24 and 26. They will appear in court for the first time on January 3rd. 

The police are still looking for more suspects, including a 20-year-old from Amsterdam whose passport and cellphone were found in one of the getaway cars used. The police already raided several addresses he is known to frequent, but haven't found him yet. 

A. is considered a leader in the Amsterdam gang world. He is currently serving a 12 year prison sentence for involvement in the assassination of another Amsterdam criminal, Najab Boubouh, in October 2012. In December of that year, A. was targeted in an assassination attempt in Amsterdam's Staatsliedenbuurt. He survived, but two others did not. The murder of Bouhbouh and the Staatsliedenbuurt assassinations are considered the start of the Amsterdam gang war, which in the years since resulted in the deaths of dozens of Amsterdam criminals and a handful of innocent bystanders. 

A. was transferred to the high security prison in Vught after this attempted escape.