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Manhunt man starts to accumulate time

Just over one month after he was supposed to be sentenced, Neil Collins finally learned his fate. The 37-year-old man who RCMP allege ran a drug operation from his condo on Upper Sundance Drive in Shannon Lake was handed a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

RCMP began a drug investigation into Collins in April 2013 and finally arrested him the following month outside his home. Cops found small amounts of crack cocaine, powder cocaine and heroin in his apartment, but significantly less than what they had anticipated to find.

Further investigation led them to another resident in the building who says Collins told him to hide a large hockey bag in his storage locker. That bag contained 190.45 grams of pebble heroin and 127 grams of meth, along with various prescription drugs and $38,500 in cash.

Collins fingerprints were found on one of the prescription drug bottles, and both the heroin and prescription drugs were matched to others found on Adrienne Barregar, one of his alleged drug runners who was picked up a few days before Collins was arrested.

The prescription drugs were linked to a robbery at the Medicine Shoppe pharmacy the previous week, and experts believe the amounts of heroin and meth linked to Collins could be sold on the street for a combined value of $67,000 and the prescriptions would bring in another $25,000 if sold by the pill.

Part way through his trial, which ended on Dec. 9, Collins plead guilty to three of the charges, including possession of heroin, meth and prescription drugs for the purpose of distributing. He was in custody at the time, but was released in order to get his affairs together.

Collins did not show up for his sentencing on Dec. 19 and was on the lam for seven days, triggering a Canada-wide warrant to be issued for his arrest.

His defence counsel, Cory Amour, noted that Collins has said that he screwed up in a big way and has effectively admitted to the above facts.

Justice Al Betton agreed to the joint sentencing submission put forward by Armour and Crown counsel Monica McParland. He also gave Collins 76 days credit for time already served in custody.

Collins will be back in court Thursday for sentencing on his failure to appear. It’s believed both counsels will again submit a joint proposal of a six-month sentence to be served consecutively.

He was also given a lifetime firearms ban and must forfeit all exhibits seized by police, including the money and drugs.

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