Quebec prison officials have to deal with another high-profile jailbreak after Francis Boucher, son of a notorious Hells Angels chieftain, somehow got out of detention Monday.
According to Journal de Montréal, Mr. Boucher got out of prison by assuming the identity of another inmate who had the same family name and was scheduled for release.
The 39-year-old Mr. Boucher was held at Bordeaux prison in north-end Montreal. He is the son of Maurice (Mom) Boucher, former head of the Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels, who is serving a life sentence for ordering the murder of two prison guards.
While not a major kingpin like his father, the younger Mr. Boucher is a career criminal of notoriety. He was part of a group of bikers who were involved in Quebec's deadly biker war of the late 1990s and were convicted in highly publicized megatrials.
"An incident like this one is totally unacceptable," Quebec Public Security Minister Lise Thériault said in a statement.
She said she had asked officials to look at ways to increase security, including installing biometrics systems that could instantly scan prisoners' fingerprints and eyes.
It was the third time in a year that Ms. Thériault had to deal with such embarrassing incidents.
In January, Shamy Saint-Jean, 19, who was in pretrial custody on assault and robbery charges, escaped from the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre by passing himself off as his 24-year-old brother, Edgar, who was also detained in the same facility and was supposed to be released.
Last June, three accused drug traffickers – Serge Pomerleau, Denis Lefebvre and Yves Denis – made a daring escape that created headlines around the world when a helicopter hoisted them out of the yard of Orsainville prison.
In the latest case, officials appear to differ on just how Mr. Boucher left the prison.
The Sûreté du Québec said Mr. Boucher was released by mistake.
However, Louise Quintin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said Mr. Boucher used a "trick" to leave the prison and this was "not an administrative error," but did not elaborate further.
A prison guard has been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
Mr. Boucher was serving a 117-day sentence for uttering death threats at police officers. He was supposed to be released end at the end of May.
In 2002, he had received a 10-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder, drug trafficking and gangsterism, and was paroled in 2009.
Evidence at the megatrial showed that he was a member of the Rockers, a puppet gang that worked for the Nomads, the elite chapter of the Hells Angels headed by his father.
The trial heard that he declared only $17,000 in annual income but had a house valued at more than $320,000, with security cameras that fed TV monitors placed in clusters of six in various rooms inside.
A video tape that police secretly captured of a biker reunion showed fellow members of the Rockers grumbling that Mr. Boucher was shirking his biker duties because of his family connection.
"His father's a Hells Angel. He gets to do what he wants," one Rocker complained.
In another trial, Crown prosecutor Randall Richmond cited Mr. Boucher when he explained how the top Hells Angels let the lower-ranking Rockers take all the risks in drug trafficking and fighting rival mobsters.
"[They] are now paying for it very dearly by spending what should have been the best years of their lives in prison cells. The most heartless example of all is of course that of Mom Boucher who got his own son involved in this predicament," Mr. Richmond said.
With a report from The Canadian Press