Jeremy Egan couldn’t hold back the tears as he denounced his participation in the botched kidnapping of a Winnipeg drug dealer.
“I’m embarrassed standing here,” Egan told a judge before being sentenced to eight years in prison. “I just want to make a change, be there for the people that matter, not the people who don’t.”
Court heard Egan, 33, and two other men were acting as “muscle” for a “mid-level independent drug dealer” when they followed the 28-year-old victim to his Logan Avenue workplace and attempted to kidnap him on Jan. 28, 2008.
Crown attorney Dan Chaput said the alleged ringleader was supplying the victim with large quantities of cocaine which he then sold through his “dial-a-dealer” operatives. Chaput said Egan and his cohorts planned to rob the victim of drugs or money, believing that would force him to buy more drugs from the ringleader.
They didn’t make it that far. Egan and another man, Patrick Keith Hiltz, 30, tried unsuccessfully to drag the victim out of his car and Hiltz hit him in the head with the butt of a handgun. The commotion caught the attention of the victim’s co-workers who attempted to intervene. Chaput said Egan urged Hiltz to “shoot them” before they fled the scene.
The alleged ringleader and “puppet master” watched the drama unfold from a car a short distance away, Chaput said.
Egan pleaded guilty to attempted kidnapping, assault causing bodily harm, and several firearms offences.
“Mr. Egan was the muscle ... but he knew what he was getting into,” said his lawyer Jeff Nichols.
Egan, a former professional boxer, has a prior history of violent and drug-related offences. He was sentenced to jail in 2004 for assaulting an off-duty cop at a movie theatre.
Justice Brenda Keyser told Egan he will have a hard time landing a job with his criminal record, but it’s time he tried.
“You’ve done a spectacularly bad job of being a criminal, so maybe you should try the opposite,” Keyser said.
Egan received double credit of 26 months for time served, which will be deducted from his total sentence.
Hiltz has been granted full immunity from prosecution in return for testifying against his three co-accused.
Biniam Fitur, the alleged ringleader, and co-accused Pedro Maldonado are set to stand trial in January 2011.
8 years for drug-trade related kidnapping bid
A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a brazen daytime abduction attempt that ended in chaos outside a city business.
Jeremy Egan, 33, pleaded guilty to several charges Tuesday stemming from the bizarre January 2008 incident, including attempted kidnapping, pointing a firearm and assault causing bodily harm.
"I just want to put this behind me. I want to be a good father and role model for my son," a tearful Egan told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brenda Keyser.
Crown attorney Daniel Chaput said the plot was hatched by a high-level drug supplier who wanted to steal nearly $100,000 worth of cash and cocaine from the victim -- a regular customer of his who dealt drugs at the street level -- so he would have to purchase even more product from him.
Egan and two other men were recruited to be the "muscle" and spent several days planning the attack. They conducted surveillance on their target, obtained a handgun and car and were given specific roles to play. They also bought gloves, balaclavas, zip ties and pillowcases.
"It was decided that as much force would be applied as necessary," Chaput said. The accused wanted to force their victim to turn over his BlackBerry password, so they could access his network of drug contacts and steal from them as well, court was told. The "puppet master" who came up with the plan would not be directly involved, Chaput said. "He wasn't going to get his hands dirty."
The three would-be kidnappers followed the victim from his home to his workplace -- a Logan Avenue autobody shop -- on the morning of Jan. 28. They quickly boxed in the victim's car and surrounded him, waving the gun around and beating their target over the head with the butt end. The victim fought back, leaning on his car horn and refusing to unbuckle his seatbelt. Several co-workers heard the commotion and came running outside.
Egan repeatedly shouted "Shoot them, shoot them" to one of his gun-toting accomplices, Chaput said. But the firearm wasn't loaded and the two men fled in a waiting vehicle driven by the other accused. The victim suffered a large cut on his head, but wasn't seriously injured.
Police obtained surveillance video of the incident from a business across the street and quickly identified the suspects. They found Egan hiding inside a closet in a home and eventually seized a gun with his DNA and blood from their target on it.
Egan is the first of the accused to deal with his charges. The others remain before the courts.
Egan has spent the past 25 months in custody, which was given double-time credit of 50 months. That leaves him with three years, 10 months left to serve.