Mission/Lima, Peru (Vancouver Sun) A convicted killer who escaped from a minimum-security Mission prison last August has been found more than 8,000 kilometres away in Peru.
Norman Gilbert Riel, 42, was picked up by local authorities last week in an upscale suburb of Lima called Miraflores.
How the violent B.C. gangster made his way to Peru is a mystery.
The RCMP’s “most wanted” bulletin said the longtime criminal is a member of the West Coast Players gang with “contacts in the Mexican and South American drug cartels.”
The bulletin, issued after his August 2014 escape, said Riel “may attempt to leave Canada to travel south into the United States or South America with these criminal associates.”
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Nicolas Doire said only “we are aware of a Canadian citizen detained in Peru.”
“Canadian officials are directly in contact with local authorities on his case,” Doire said. “Due to limitations under the Privacy Act, no further information can be released.”
Peruvian media reported on Riel’s arrest July 18.
Riel was convicted in B.C. Supreme Court in 1998 of the September 1994 murder of a Vancouver pot dealer.
Riel was one of four masked intruders that broke into the Commercial Drive apartment of Patrick Pugh, demanding his drug money.
When Pugh refused to hand over the case, Riel shot him in the back of the head.
He fled to Las Vegas where he was under investigation for drug trafficking. An undercover cop there got admissions from him about the Vancouver murder that led to a second-degree murder conviction.
He was sentenced to life in jail with the possibility of parole after 14 years.
Riel’s lawyer asked the court to show mercy since Riel had a difficult life — his father was a Hells Angels-turned alcoholic and his mother was a prostitute.
But the judge called Riel “a danger to society” with a long and violent history and showed no remorse.
Riel walked away from a minimum-security unit at Mission Institution on the afternoon of Aug. 24, 2014.
He was seen getting into a white Chevrolet Suburban.
Mounties said earlier “that Riel’s family members will aid and enable him to avoid apprehension. Riel may be in the company of his wife and two unidentified males.”
Riel’s escape last year was not his first. In October 2010, he disappeared from a halfway house while on day parole.
He was arrested again in Las Vegas in March 2011 and returned to B.C.