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Fugitive faces long jail term

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After being on the lam, Neil Elliott Collins was back in court to face drug charges, and now will probably have charges for his alleged escape added to those.
Neil Elliott Collins sat slumped in the prisoner's box Monday, looking resigned to the fact he's going to prison for a long time.
The drug dealer who cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and skipped his sentencing 10 days ago was arrested at a local home by West Kelowna RCMP on Saturday.
The West Kelowna man was out on bail after pleading guilty Dec. 9 to three drug-related charges in the middle of his trial. When he failed to show up for court Dec. 19, Justice Al Betton ordered a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.
Police set up a partial roadblock on the Bennett Bridge and checked the airport and bus depot. RCMP suspected he'd try to leave the country and launched a provincewide manhunt.
Looking pale and worn out, Collins asked Monday to make his next court appearance by video from Kamloops jail so he doesn't have to make the trip to Kelowna. Betton agreed and Collins, dressed in a black shirt and grey sweat pants, shuffled off with the sheriff in leg shackles.
Collins was in custody when he pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking, and possessing hundreds of prescription pills stolen from a Westside pharmacy.
Lawyers agreed to recommend a three-and-a-half-year prison term. As part of the deal, the Crown agreed to release Collins so he could get his affairs in order. He was ordered to wear the bracelet and post a $100,000 bond in his father's name.
Peter Collins, 62, drove to the courthouse shortly before his son's sentencing and asked to withdraw the $100,000 surety. Police detained him there for obstructing justice. They also arrested an 18-year-old West Kelowna woman for the same offence.
The elder Collins is before the courts on two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking after RCMP pulled over a vehicle on the Okanagan Connector in August. Inside a bag were 8.5 ounces of cocaine and an ounce of heroin, police said.
RCMP arrested Neil Collins in May after raiding a penthouse in the Shannon Lake area. Officers said they seized nearly eight ounces of heroin, 4.5 ounces of crystal meth and four ounces of marijuana bud, as well as a half-litre of the date-rape drug GHB and a quarter-litre of liquid codeine.
Police also found prescription pills stolen from the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy days earlier, thousands in cash and a loaded 9mm Glock handgun.
A week earlier, Collins told a probation officer he carried a loaded 9mm Glock to protect him and his family, the officer testified. He was afraid that men connected to a high-speed shootout with police on Westside Road in July 2012 were after him.
Collins is expected to lose his plea deal and, unless he makes another, will undergo a full trial on the 20 original counts plus new charges related to his alleged escape.
His lawyer Cory Armour withdrew from the case. Collins makes his next court appearance in B.C. Supreme Court on Jan. 6.

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