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Court hears drug dealer feared for life

A man on trial for multiple drug offences is alleged to have feared for his life in the months before his arrest and that is why he carried a loaded gun.

Neil Elliot Collins is facing 20 charges, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm and possession for the purpose of trafficking. All charges culminating from a two-month investigation into drug surveillance by the Kelowna RCMP.

The Crown contends the investigation centered on a condo complex on Upper Sundance Drive in West Kelowna.

On May 23, officers arrested a number of people seen departing the residence, including Collins, and once a search warrant had been issued they found drugs and drug trafficking paraphernalia in his home.

Evidence also led them to another condo in the same building where the tenant directed officers to a storage locker containing a bag allegedly provided by Collins that included a variety of prescription medications taken from a prior robbery, a loaded Glock 9mm, six ounces of heroin and four ounces of methamphetamines.

Prior to Collin’s arrest, he had been meeting with Sandy Brown, a probation officer at the Kelowna Community Corrections office.

She was the first witness called, who told the court their relationship was “tense” at first, but that changed after a meeting on May 21 of this year when he opened up and told her about his relationships, his drug dealing, and threats made on his life, which was the reason he “carried a fully loaded Glock in his waistband at all times.”

Brown says Collins told her that people had threatened him and his family and that an officer from the West Kelowna RCMP had come by his home on three separate occasions with a “duty to warn” about a possible “hit” on his life.

Although Brown says she did not ask a lot of questions during the meeting, Collins was very forthcoming with the information, including naming the people he believed were after him and his family, including Ashley Collins, Shawn Wysynski and Michael Ellis.

Those three are currently involved in a preliminary inquiry into a high-speed shootout with police that happened last year on Westside Road.

Defence was quick to point out some of the things Brown testified to on Monday were not included in her notes, and other points of reference that had been written in past tense.

However, she testified her notes were accurate and that she had been under the belief she would be meeting with Collins again in the near future, and for that reason decided to pick and choose what would go into her initial notes and what topics would be fleshed out at a later time.

Collins was arrested two days later.

A voir dire of the accused statements within the trial will also take place later this week.

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