Americans have an odd soft spot for outlaw biker gangs. Lots of movies and TV shows get made where the bikers are the good guys. Not always, of course. often the bikers are the really really bad guy. The outlaw biker is a truly American thing. The Hell Angels are badass dudes who do a lot of bad things, but you gotta admire them for their fierce non-conformity. This story from Canada is pretty cool.

Provincial police are searching for three inmates with previous ties to the Hells Angels who escaped from a Quebec City detention centre using a helicopter.

A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson confirmed to CBC News that the prison break occurred at 7:45 p.m. ET from Orsainville Detention Centre and the inmates fled westbound in a green helicopter.

“We are talking closely with the detention centre to figure out exactly how the escape transpired,” said Ann Mathieu. “The priority number one is to find the helicopter.”

Police are now searching for Yves Denis, 35, Denis Lefebvre, 53, and 49-year-old Serge Pomerleau.

In 2010, Lefebvre was arrested by provincial police after a drug operation bust known as Project Crayfish that led to dozens of arrests. He was reported to have had ties to the Hells Angels.

Quebec has a long a bloody history with motorcycle clubs. The Biker Wars in the 1990’s resulted in hundreds of murders, dozens of bombings and general mayhem on the streets of cities like Montreal. Eventually the Canadians had enough and pretty much arrested every Hell’s Angel in the province. They even arrested people not really a part of the biker wars just to end the violence.

During the bust police seized multiple weapons, 41 vehicles, a plane, a helicopter and $905,000, CBC Radio-Canada reported.

The three who escaped were being held at the detention centre waiting to stand trial, but it was not immediately clear what charges they were facing.

Police are warning anyone who sees the men not approach them and to call police immediately.

Last year, there was a daring escape at St-Jerome prison in Quebec involving a helicopter where a pilot was forced at gunpoint to pluck two inmates from the facility on a Sunday afternoon.

The thing about the big clubs like the Angels, Banditos and Mongols is they are sophisticated operations with a lot of intellectual fire power at the top. They’re not just guys with beards swinging chains in bar rooms. There’s plenty of that, but the further you go up the hierarchy, the greater the sophistication. The reason the Feds have had little luck infiltrating these clubs is they are very smart about how they organize themselves and interact with the wider world.

The daring and sophistication to use a chopper to get guys out of prison is what you see from former military guys. Of course, a big source of recruits for these gangs has been the military since World War 2. A whole bunch of guys with military training are mustering out as we wind down the War on Terror. That means the gangs will get a shot in the arm from new recruits. Throw in the general unhealthiness of normal society for young white males  and the gangs will see a boom in membership.