A Winnipeg man jailed in Greece for the past 14 years after being caught smuggling drugs is coming home.
- Canadian drug smuggler denied Greek pardon
- Winnipeg man back in European custody
- Canadian fights return to Greek prison
- Canadian drug smuggler flees Greek prison
Kevin Hiebert, 39, was arrested at Athens airport in 1999 as he tried to smuggle two kilograms of cocaine into the country from South America.
Hiebert believed he was going to be sentenced to three to five years in prison. He was given life instead.
After years of trying to get transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence on home soil, Hiebert is being released from jail.
Dick Hiebert said his son called him earlier this month with the news. It has also been confirmed to the family by officials with the Canadian consulate.
"It's always tough to support a criminal [and] I'm sorry that he did wrong," Dick Hiebert said.
"It's the first time he's ever done wrong but what price does he have to pay?”
Escaped from prison
Two of Hiebert's smuggling accomplices, caught in Holland, served just two years and were sent back to Canada.
Canada has a prison-transfer treaty with Greece, and Hiebert had unsuccessfully applied three times under that program. Frustrated in his efforts, Hiebert escaped the prison in November 2008.
In the summer of 2009, he approached a Canadian Embassy and put his future on the line. He asked if there were any warrants for him, or any legal barriers that would prevent him from returning to Canada to face the legal music here.
According to family members, he was told that all he had to do was pay Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) an outstanding penal fee of about $4,500.
Dick Hiebert paid DFAIT the fee and the department issued Hiebert an emergency travel document and the flight details to come home. But when he showed up at the Amsterdam Airport, Hiebert was arrested under the authority of a new warrant issued by European officials issued Aug.12, 2009, one day after his family met with Canadian officials.
His family believes he was set up.
Hiebert has been behind bars since then, not knowing when, or if, he would ever be back in Canada.
Dick Hiebert hopes to get an exact release date for his son in the coming weeks.
He expects his son to be back by November.