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Flight took fight out of West Kelowna drug dealer

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Neil Collins was bleeding, soaking wet and on the lam when police found him in the Shannon Lake area on Boxing Day.
The Westside drug dealer was ringing the doorbell and intercom at a house on Shannon Ridge Drive, prompting a resident to call police. When officers found him, Collins was walking up a nearby driveway to avoid detection, court heard at his sentencing Thursday.
He wore a hoodie, board shorts and one running shoe on a cold day with sleet. There was blood on his clothes and swollen legs. His clothes were drenched and he shook from hypothermia. He was semi-conscious and had trouble speaking, Crown counsel Monica McParland told the court.
A Mountie drew his pistol when Collins reached into his pocket. He pulled out a cellphone containing evidence that later revealed his plan to flee to Mexico.
Collins, 37, had cut off his electronic ankle bracelet the morning of his December sentencing. He pleaded guilty 10 days earlier to serious trafficking offences in the middle of his trial.
He was let out on bail on compassionate grounds. His girlfriend and father, Peter William Collins, have cancer, and Neil was looking at a long prison term, McParland said. The Crown allowed him to get his affairs in order on a $100,000 bond and on condition he wear the bracelet and show up for his sentencing.
A monitoring alarm went off before 9 a.m. Dec. 19 when he removed the bracelet. About the same time, his father arrived at the courthouse to cancel the $100,000 surety in his name.
Police rushed to Neil's home at 70-1860 Boucherie Rd. Officers seized his iPhone and arrested his stepdaughter for obstruction after she allegedly broke another phone to destroy evidence. She hasn't been charged.
Officers set up roadblocks in the Okanagan and launched a helicopter to look for him. The search went on for a week before his arrest.
"He was let out on very strict bail on very serious charges. On the day of the sentencing, basically he's thumbing his nose at the justice system and remains at large for a week," McParland said.
Police believe Collins was living outside for some time. He spent a few days in hospital before officers transferred him to a cell.
He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years Monday for possessing heroin and methamphetamines for trafficking, and hundreds of prescription pills stolen from a Westside pharmacy.
He pleaded guilty to three charges related to skipping his court date. Judge Vince Hogan, who jailed him Thursday for another six months, said breaking his bail made it worse for other criminals.
"It erodes the ability of our justice system to allow prisoners to be out for compassionate reasons. It means others who may need a similar break will probably not receive it. So it's destructive . . . to other prisoners."
Peter William Collins, 62, and another man are before the courts on two counts of possessing drugs for the purposes of trafficking. RCMP pulled over a vehicle containing 8.5 ounces of cocaine and an ounce of heroin on the Okanagan Connector in August.
Peter Collins told the judge he was late for his hearing Thursday because he slept in after throwing up the night before due to his cancer.

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