Warlocks biker testifies he needed protection at time of weapons raid

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A former member of the Drayton Valley chapter of the Warlocks motorcycle club on trial for weapon and drug possession testified Thursday that he only joined the gang out of fear for his life.

Dean McKnight, 44, took the stand to answer questions that his lawyer told the court revealed his “state of mind” when police carried out a raid on his residence and vehicles. He was arrested on March 21, 2014 in Drayton Valley after police obtained permission to execute a search warrant on McKnight’s residence and vehicles amid concerns about heightening tensions between the Warlocks and two other groups — the Hells Angels and its “puppet” club the Dirty Few.

At the time, investigators said they seized a loaded handgun, six rifles, 273 rounds of ammunition, one kilogram of marijuana, 200 prescription pills and more than $6,000 in cash.

According to an information to obtain a search warrant filed as evidence during the trial, investigators believed the Warlocks were armed and planning to shoot a Hells Angels member in retaliation for an attack at a laundromat and tattoo shop owned by McKnight, during which rival gang members stripped Warlocks of their biker vests, which is considered “the ultimate sign of disrespect.”

Crest for the Drayton Valley chapter of the Warlocks motorcycle club. SunMedia

The document, which includes information from three confidential informants, identifies McKnight as the president of the Drayton Valley chapter of the Warlocks and his home as the local clubhouse. The informants told police firearms were kept in the home.

The document also describes McKnight as “unstable.”

While being questioned by his defence lawyer, Lindsay Hoban, McKnight, at times tearfully, gave testimony about getting “patched” by the Warlocks to get protection after the Hells Angels began trying to do drug deals in his tattoo shop in 2012. When he resisted, he said he was harassed by members of the Dirty Few.

He also testified that he continues to suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

During cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Adam Garrett, McKnight denied being the chapter president, and said he was still in a probationary period when he quit the gang in May 2014. He added that the reason a number of Warlocks members were staying in his residence in 2014 was for protection.

McKnight maintained that all of the violence was instigated by the Dirty Few, and told court he felt betrayed by police when they arrested him, saying he thought they’d been trying to help him stay safe.

“I felt like I lost my best friend,” he said.

Cross-examination of McKnight is expected to continue Friday.

Drayton Valley is about 130 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

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Paige Parsons
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