With the flash of every camera, Maurice “Mom” Boucher seemed to thrive and wasn’t one to shy away from fame.
Boucher died of throat cancer in prison Sunday at the age of 69, according to Corrections Canada.
“This is like Al Capone dying or John Gotti dying,” said Julien Sher, an investigative journalist and author of two books about the Hells Angels. “Mom Boucher was a kingpin, one of the most notorious organized crime leaders.”
As the boss of biker gang the Hells Angels in the 1990s, Boucher sowed fear and terror in Montreal.
It was his turf and he wanted everyone to know it, no matter the price, experts say.
“He ruled the streets of Montreal,” Sher explained. “He was in charge of most of the cocaine distribution, brought in millions to the Hells Angels but also unleashed a wave of terror in this city.”
Boucher had been battling cancer for seven years and was transferred to palliative care on June 10. He just recently turned 69 on June 21.
John Galianos, a retired provincial police officer who worked on the Hells Angels file, said Boucher loved to intimidate.
Galianos recalled Boucher would parade himself in front of police officers. “He would go there to what we say in French to “les énnerver”, to tease them,” Galianos said.
In an effort to destabilize the justice system, Boucher ordered the 1997 killings of two prison guards, Pierre Rondeau and Diane Lavigne, who were chosen at random.
There was an attempt on the life of a third guard.
Boucher was arrested and charged, but not convicted.
“When he was acquitted the first time, people applauded,” Galianos said.
Eventually his reign started to crumble when his own started to turn against him: loyal followers became informants, experts say.
The untouchable kingpin was arrested and tried again.
The second time, in 2002, he was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of the prison guards.
Guy Ouellette , a Member of Quebec’s National Assembly and a retired provincial police officer, said his first thoughts when learning about the death were for Boucher’s innocent victims.
“Collateral damage they called that. I hope that it will never happen again,” Ouellette said.
Boucher died while incarcerated at the palliative care ward of a correctional health-care institution affiliated with the Archambault federal penitentiary in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., where he had been serving consecutive life sentences for the last 20 years.
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