Twenty-five years of criminal imprisonment for Lofty Boussouak, member of the "
gang of highway pirates
", 22 and 18 years for his accomplices: the trial of the spectacular escape of January 28, 2019 before the Tarascon court ended Thursday with severe penalties.
That Monday morning, Lofty Boussouak had been taken from his cell in Béziers (Hérault) to the Tarascon courthouse (Bouches-du-Rhône) where an examining magistrate wanted to hear him.
Objective: to question him about his participation in the "
gang of pirates
", criminals who robbed and ransomed owners of luxury cars in the areas of the A7 and A9 motorways.
Conviction after six months on the run
But this Nîmes, now 31, was never going to arrive in the judge's office.
At 8:30 a.m., upon arriving at the courthouse, the van was attacked by two men dressed in black or in camouflage, armed with a handgun and an assault rifle.
After the attack, which lasted just a few seconds, one 9mm caliber case and nine 5.56 caliber cases were found by investigators.
And five bullet holes were found on the vehicle of the three prison officials, including one on the front windshield on the driver's side, at face level.
This bullet had passed through the driver's head restraint while the latter, lowered, had tried to restart.
The prisoner and his two accomplices had fled in a stolen vehicle.
If Lofty Boussouak explained that he matured this project after learning that his family was threatened with a debt of 200,000 euros in connection with a drug theft, his two accomplices, Youness and Mounsif El Asri, two cousins aged 29 and 25, have always denied the facts.
But these explanations did not convince the Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence.
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Prosecuted for escape with arms and complicity in the attempted murder of persons holding public authority, Lofty Boussouak was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
As for Youness and Mounsif El Asri, they were respectively sentenced to 22 and 18 years for attempted murder of persons holding public authority and complicity in escape with weapons, in particular.
Very marked by these events, the three officials, including a woman, still suffer from post-traumatic stress.
They stopped the extractions and went back to normal guard work.
Lofty Boussouak's run only lasted six months.
He was finally arrested in an isolated hamlet in the Gard with his two accomplices.