POLITICS

Prison guard suspended as manhunt continues for son of former Hells Angels boss

03/24/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 05/23/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A Quebec prison guard was suspended Tuesday as police tried to solve the mystery of how the son of former Hells Angels boss Maurice (Mom) Boucher walked out of jail two months before the end of his sentence.

Francis Boucher left Montreal's Bordeaux institution just before noon on Monday, prompting different views among authorities as to the events behind the headline-grabbing escape.

One theory was that he benefited from an ''administrative error," while another pointed to Boucher using a ''trick'' to gain his freedom.

On Tuesday, a visibly upset public security minister leaned more toward the latter, saying ''there appears to have been a stratagem."

''When people go into detention centres, we expect them to get out only when their sentence is up,'' Lise Theriault said in Quebec City.

''The fact there's been an error or a stratagem for Mr. Boucher to walk is inexcusable.''

Thierry Lariviere, a spokesman for the labour federation that represents prison guards, confirmed the paid suspension but wouldn't elaborate.

Various reports Tuesday suggested Boucher posed as an inmate with the same family name. Authorities would not comment on them.

Boucher, 39, was serving a 117-day sentence for having uttered death threats against police officers — a sentence due to be completed at the end of May.

He was previously sentenced to 10 years for gangsterism, conspiracy to commit murder and drug-trafficking.

Boucher was a member of the Rockers, a Hells affiliate, but wasn't in the same league as his infamous father in terms of holding sway.

Maurice Boucher was a household figure in the late 1990s and early 2000s because of the bloody battle between the Hells and the Rock Machine as well as subsequent high-profile legal proceedings.

The elder Boucher was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 after being convicted on two counts of first-degree murder for ordering the killings of prison guards the Crown said were aimed at destabilizing the justice system.

A report in Montreal La Presse in late 2014, citing sources, suggested neither father nor son held status with the biker gang anymore.

Parti Quebecois public security critic Pascal Berube said getting out of a jail is a complex process that includes answering personal questions and a visual verification by two people.

An investigation will shed light on whether it was a "succession of coincidences" or an elaborate plan to free Boucher, Berube said.

"I don't get the impression that Francis Boucher is a prisoner who goes unnoticed in jail," Berube told reporters in Quebec City. "How can the son of one of the most famous criminals in Quebec, who is known by everyone in the prison world ... walk out of a detention centre so easily?"

Boucher's latest sentence stems from an arrest last November at an east-end Montreal bar where he was intoxicated and bothering patrons. He threatened police when asked to leave, invoking his infamous father's identity.

His escape is the latest in a series of gaffes involving Quebec's detention facilities.

Earlier this year, Shamy Saint-Jean, 19, was able to leave the Riviere-des-Prairies detention centre after posing as his brother, who was scheduled to be released.

Saint-Jean turned himself in to Montreal police in mid-February and was charged.

The jail system also came under scrutiny following two famously wild jailbreaks involving helicopters to free inmates.

Last June, three prisoners escaped from the Orsainville detention centre near Quebec City by using a chopper.

In March 2013, two men being detained in Saint-Jerome fled in a helicopter.

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