Sheriffs escort Afshin Maleki Ighani into Penticton court. Black Press File Photo

Alleged Oliver shooter pleads guilty to unrelated drug charge

Afshen Maleki Ighani was also supposed to have a bail hearing for the shooting charges

A man accused of attempted murder in an Oliver shooting in April pleaded guilty to unrelated drug charges Wednesday morning in a hearing that was intended to determine whether or not he would be released on bail.

Afshin Maleki Ighani, 45, has been in custody since his arrest on Apr. 22 in Princeton, facing charges on a pair of incidents, including possession of cocaine in January.

Few details are available on that matter, beyond the fact that he was found to be in possession of cocaine by police in Oliver on Jan. 25.

Related: Shots fired as RCMP arrest wanted man

While Ighani pleaded guilty on that matter, he was also in court on Wednesday for a bail hearing for a more notorious incident. On the evening of Apr. 19, Ighani reportedly shot Thomas Szajko, sparking a major police presence in a quiet Oliver neighbourhood.

That police presence was intended to root Ighani out of a motorhome near Szajko’s property, but after a raid was conducted, Ighani was nowhere to be found. That led to a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

On Apr. 22, Princeton RCMP received reports of a kidnapping, after a man was told to leave a car and another man, believed to be Ighani, took off in that car with a woman inside, leading to a manhunt for Ighani.

He was later arrested in a Princeton mobile home park and has been up for bail a number of times since. However, none of his bail hearings has gone through to date, including Wednesdays.

Ighani has a lengthy criminal history, including a 2001 firearms conviction which led to a deportation order. That was ultimately stayed in November 2002, while another deportation order was filed in July 2007 over drug charges.

It’s not clear when or why the second deportation order would have been stayed.

Defence and Crown lawyers will be convening on Monday to determine a date for Ighani’s bail hearing.

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