Three Cranbrook men were sentenced to terms of five to 12 years in jail for their varying roles in conspiring to kill a former drug-gang rival.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley said each man's case had to be considered on its own, but added that all three have long roads in front of them if they want to be productive members of society.
Lonnie Adams, Colin Correia and Lorne Carry were also banned from possessing firearms, ammunition and explosives for the rest of their lives.
"Conspiracy to commit murder and counselling to commit murder are serious offences," Dley said Friday.
The trio were charged for hiring another long-time criminal in 2009 to kill Doug Mahon, a Cranbrook drug trafficker who eventually left his organization. The men believed Mahon was involved in the shooting of a member of their group.
They provided the killer for hire with an AK-47 and ammunition.
"It was intended to be a brutal assassination," the judge said.
Dley sentenced the most hardened of the three, Colin Correia, to 12 years in jail for counselling to commit murder, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal transfer of a firearm and another weapons charge.
Correia, 36, has a long criminal record that includes stolen property, resisting arrest and assault causing bodily harm. He has two young daughters.
Dley said the only mitigating factor in his case was that his brother has offered him a job in his concrete business after the jail term ends. Working against is that he planned to kill someone over a long period of time, he was involved in providing the weapon and his own drug organization would have benefitted.
Correia's ability to rehabilitate himself was questionable, he said.
Dley gave Correia credit for double time served while awaiting trial, which shaved 65.5 months off the jail term.
Carry is 30 years old and has no criminal record. He maintained he was enticed into the criminal lifestyle and pressured into the conspiracy, the judge said.
Carry said he left the drug gang on his own, but Dley said he was forced out. Carry has been compliant since being arrested, but he was also a driving force behind the murder conspiracy and provided the machine gun that was to be the weapon.
"This was more than tough talk," said Dley.
Still, he found Carry was remorseful and has support in turning his life around. He has also been out on bail for the past two and a half years and has met the conditions during that time.
For that, Dley sentenced him to 10 years for conspiring, counselling murder, and firearms charges.
Adams, 36, has two young children and family support and he plans to move on. He has been in segregated custody for 11 months because he has rejected his criminal connections, said Dley.
"His change of heart has apparently left him an outcast from his former colleagues," he said, adding Adams has stated he has "crossed the Rubicon."
He has a criminal record involving charges such as possession of stolen property and noncompliance.
Dley said he was impressed with Adams's statement of remorse in court, but he couldn't ignore his past. Still, a lengthy incarceration wouldn't help his rehabilitation, the judge said.
While Adams was found guilty of counselling to commit murder, he was not charged with conspiracy. He was sentenced to five years, with credit for 67 months in custody.