Two French pilots sentenced to 20 years in prison in the Dominican Republic for cocaine trafficking fled house arrest and have returned to France, their lawyer says.

Pascal Jean Fauret and Bruno Odos had long insisted on their innocence, and their lawyer Jean Reinhart said on Europe-1 radio that the two are now at the "disposition" of French justice in hopes of clearing their names.

The French government insisted it didn't have anything to do with the daring and unusual escape.

Reinhart did not give details about how they escaped. BFM television reported that they left by boat to the French Antilles then flew to Paris, aided by former intelligence agents and a French politician.

The pair were convicted for involvement in a 700-kilogram (1,500-pound) shipment of cocaine in 2013.