Quebec provincial police are asking for the public's help in finding René Charlebois, a Hells Angels member who escaped from a minimum-security prison in Laval, Que., on Saturday night.

Charlebois was at the Montée St-François Institution for, among other charges, killing a police informant. 

"Charlebois is a 48-year-old inmate that has been incarcerated since 2003," said Serge Abergel, a spokesman for Correctional Service Canada.

"He is currently serving an indeterminate sentence for second-degree murder, conspiring to commit murder, trafficking narcotics, trafficking Schedule I and II substances and participation in a criminal organization," he continued.

Rene Charlebois (220)

René Charlebois, 48, escaped from a Laval prison Saturday night. He was serving a sentence for second-degree murder, among other charges. (Correctional Service Canada)

It's one of several escapes from the federal institution over the past few years.

Last year, convict Gilles Meloche told a Quebec journalist that he simply pushed on the door to get out. He was eventually recaptured.

In a separate incident, another prisoner escaped the same week as Meloche.

'Close associate' of Mom Boucher

Charlebois was made a full-patch member of the Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels in 2000.

He has been identified by police as a close associate of Hells boss Maurice "Mom" Boucher.

In short, he's "not just a Hells Angels member," according to organized crime specialist James Dubro.

"This is not the kind of person you would see in a minimum-security jail, unless there was some special arrangement made for him," Dubro said.

Charlebois pleaded guilty to some of the charges in a 2003 Hells Angels megatrial in Quebec, and in 2004 to second-degree murder.

Prison guards noticed he was missing during head count just before 11 p.m. Saturday night.

There is now a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

Why a minimum-security jail

Questions about why Charlebois was in a minimum-security facility arose when news of his escape broke.

Abergel explained that the convict had been through several institutions since first being incarcerated in 2003.

"Generally speaking, only offenders who are assessed as having a lower risk to public safety are placed in a minimum security institution, and Corrections Canada will evaluate all offenders and place them in facilities that are appropriate to their security and program requirements," he said.

Charlebois weighs about 200 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes and has his first name tattooed on his left arm.

Although police are seeking the public's assistance, they warn people not to approach him, as he's considered dangerous.