A French terror suspect accused of having links to one of the Charlie Hebdo killers was arrested in Bulgaria, local prosecutors said Tuesday. Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, was detained under an international arrest warrant while trying to enter Turkey on January 1, a week before the attacks in the French capital, according to a statement from Bulgarian prosecutors to NBC News.
The warrant, issued by authorities in Paris, said Joachin had abducted his 3-year-old son. On Monday, Bulgaria received another warrant from Paris alleging that Joachin was a member of a criminal group preparing terrorist acts, said the statement, from prosecutors in the southern border province of Haskovo.
Pictures showed Joachin inside a courtroom in Haskovo, surrounded by photographers.
Haskovo prosecutor Darina Slavova said Joachin had been in contact with Cherif Kouachi, one of the brothers who carried out the first day of the Paris attack, one month before the massacre. "He met with Kouachi several times at the end of December," Slavova told The AP.
The prosecutor's office confirmed to NBC News that the second arrest warrant alleged Joachin and Kouachi were in contact.
Joachin has agreed to be sent back to France and a Haskovo court will make a final decision on the extradition Friday, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Turkish intelligence sources lost track of a woman suspected to be an accomplice to another of the Paris attackers, sources close to the investigation told NBC News. Security officials lost the cell phone signal of Hayat Boumeddiene, believed to be the common-law wife of Amedy Coulibaly, a few hundred yards from an ISIS-controlled town in Syria.
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- Alexander Smith
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.