Canadian fugitives captured after brazen helicopter jail break

Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:39pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian police said on Sunday they had captured three fugitives who earlier this month escaped from a Quebec jail by helicopter, the second airborne prison break in the Canadian province in just over a year.

Provincial police in the largely French-speaking province of Quebec said in a tweet the three men had been arrested at 1:30 a.m. local time in Montreal and will be appearing in court on Monday.

A CBC report said the men were hiding out in an upscale condominium in the city. A police spokesman told the broadcaster other arrests were expected in the case.

Police said earlier this month that the three men, who are believed to have ties to organized crime, were picked up by a green helicopter, which touched down in the courtyard of the medium-security Orsainville Detention Centre.

The jail is located on the outskirts of Quebec City, the capital of the Canadian province, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of the U.S. border.

The three fugitives, Yves Denis, Denis Lefebvre and Serge Pomerleau, were arrested on drug and gang-related charges in 2010. Police said earlier this month they also face murder charges and had been in Orsainville awaiting trial.

The escape was similar to one in March 2013, when two men broke out of a prison in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, after climbing a rope to a helicopter hovering above the prison's yard. Both were captured within hours of the escape.

It's also similar to the escape of U.S. businessman Joel David Kaplan, who was plucked from a Mexican prison by a helicopter in 1971. That escape was dramatized in the 1975 film "Breakout", starring Charles Bronson.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Rosalind Russell)