News

Focus of West Kelowna manhunt in custody again

Shackled and in shambles, the West Kelowna man who fled from police while on bail just over a week ago made his return to a local courtroom.

Neil Collins was apprehended by police Dec. 26, and, due to what police are calling "personal health reasons," he was in hospital receiving treatment until Monday, when he appeared in court.

Sgt. Wade Seversen wasn't able to add much detail to the story of Collins's arrest, although he did say he was picked up without incident from a West Kelowna residence.

The arrest is a bit of a new beginning for Collins.

Had he chosen to go to his Dec. 19 court date, and not go on the run, he would have been sentenced for several drug dealing and weapons charges that he'd pleaded guilty to. Several other charges may have been stayed that day, as well.

Justice Al Betton, however, informed Collins Monday that he may not be able to continue on with the deal that was originally struck.

Further clarity on his future with the courts will be made clear at his next court appointment, Jan. 6.

Although Collins won't appear in person for that appointment either, opting to make his court date via video link.

In his brief Monday court appointment, Collins repeatedly said he wanted to go back to Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre rather than stay in Kelowna cells.

Collins, 36,  was originally arrested last May after Mounties raided a condo in the Shannon Lake area.

Officers seized nearly eight ounces of heroin, 4.5 ounces of crystal meth and four ounces of marijuana, as well as a half-litre of GHB and a quarter-litre of liquid codeine.

Police also found the prescription pills—allegedly from a robbery of the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy — thousands in cash and a loaded 9mm Glock handgun.  Collins is prohibited from possessing weapons but is known to have access to firearms through associates and may be armed.

In court Collins said he had connections in Mexico, and police believe he is on his way out of the country. The court also heard that at the time of his initial arrest last year, he had fears that a hit was on him and it was about to be exacted.

He was  released  on $100,000 bail before he went on the run.

Police said when he failed to attend court, they discovered he may have tampered with his monitoring device and went on the run.

"Officers from Kelowna and West Kelowna as well as other detachments throughout the Southeast District set up road blocks and searched for him at multiple locations," said Const. Kris Clark, Dec. 19.

During the course of their investigation, police arrested an 18 year old West Kelowna woman and a 62-year-old West Kelowna man for obstruction.

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