Benjamin Louis Young, a violent Canadian drug trafficker who hid in his basement for 17 years before he was found, was sent to prison on Friday.
Young, who was then 33, had abducted Shane Letwin, 29, beaten him with a phone book, killed his dog, and almost chopped off his fingers in 1995 when he thought Letwin had stolen two pounds of marijuana from him.
Young hid from police while his fellow gang members were soon tracked down and arrested. His wife went to work while he raised their two children while he was in hiding.
Young’s defense attorney, Peter Royal, said, “He quite literally lived in the basement of the home for 17 years. I cannot imagine why, for 17 years, police didn’t visit his home, because they would’ve found him there. It’s unbelievable.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Colette Zazulak said after Young was caught, “We had been looking for him for years.”
Now 55, Young said, “My first lawyer told me that if I were you, I’d put as much time between these charges as you can and I did that to the best of my ability. I knew someday I’d have to give my pound of flesh.” Royal said Young wants to own a landscaping business.
Young was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm, extortion, and killing an animal. He and his gang had kidnapped Letwin from his Edmonton apartment, stuffed a butter tart laced with LSD down his throat, transported him to a Spruce Grove acreage, and shot his bull terrier five times. Then Letwin was moved to an abandoned shed near Calahoo, handcuffed and whipped with a leather strap, and beaten with a phone book. Following that, Letwin was taken to Young’s home, beaten with a snowmobile belt, and then released the next morning. Weeks afterward, Young found Letwin again, sliced two of his fingers almost completely off, and stole his stereo equipment.
At the time of the assault, police warned the public that Young was armed and dangerous; he was on the most wanted list for years.