LAVAL, Que. - A Hells Angels member found guilty of second-degree murder has escaped from the minimum-security Montée Saint-François prison in Laval.

Rene Charlebois, 48, was discovered missing Saturday night during a headcount by staff.

The 48-year-old was convicted on murder charges during the 2003 megatrial against the Hells Angels biker gang.

He is also doing time for drug-related convictions.

Quebec provincial police are asking for assistance to help track him down.

Charlebois is five feet eight inches tall with brown eyes and brown hair and has his first name tattooed on his left arm.

Last October Gilles Meloche, also convicted of murder, escaped the Montee St. Francois prison, later telling crime journalist Claude Poirier that he simply pushed the door open to escape.

A few days earlier, Philippe Pelletier, who was serving a sentence for armed robbery, had also escaped from the same penitentiary.

The prison was opened in 1963 and has a maximum capacity of 243 inmates.

The prison is seen as the last step in the rehabilitation process before inmates are sent to halfway houses as their first step to freedom.

Charlebois, a member of Mom Boucher's elite Nomad crew, was initially tried in August 2002 in a megatrial that went bust after Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Guy Boilard quit.

But he faced charges anew in September 2003 and plead guilty along with eight others to a series of charges

Charlebois plead guilty and was sentenced to life for non-premeditated murder after prosecutors agreed to drop first-degree murder charges against him.

He plead guilty to killing police informant Claude DeSerres in Lanaudiere in 2000. He was given a minimum sentence of 15 years.

He had already served two-and-a-half years while waiting for judgment, which counted for five years off of his sentence.

In 2003 he plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, gangsterism and drug trafficking. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for those crimes.

The incidents occurred as part of the Quebec biker war, which pitted the Hells Angels against a coalition of opponents known as the Rock Machine in a battle for the lucrative drug trade. The conflict lasted from 1994 to 2002 and claimed approximately 164 lives. 

During his initial legal process, prosecutor Madeleine Giauque kicked off the proceedings by quoting Charlebois' wedding toast: "My brothers, I love you. My heart, my blood and my life belongs to the Hells Angels."

-With a file from The Canadian Press