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W.Va. man acquitted in Warlocks trial

February 11, 2004

HARRISONBURG, Va. - A federal jury in Harrisonburg on Monday acquitted a Warlocks Motorcycle Club member who prosecutors dubbed a gang "enforcer" of conspiring to distribute drugs, The Associated Press reported.

The 12-member jury deliberated for nearly six hours before it acquitted Gary Murphy, 49, of Hedgesville, W.Va.

The jury convicted his three co-defendants on weapons and drug charges.

The three who were convicted were Dennis Simmons, 51, of Edinburg, Va.; Gerald Guynes, 53, of Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Clyde Newill, 43, also of Martinsburg, AP reported.

No sentencing date was set.

The jury acquitted Murphy, who the prosecution had called "The Enforcer" of the Warlocks' West Virginia chapter and tried to portray him as a violent drug user that conspired to distribute drugs.

Murphy's wife and son, who were present for most of the trial, hugged Murphy after his acquittal, according to a story in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record.

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"I'm just glad it's over," Murphy told the newspaper.

Murphy said he had been lumped in with the Warlocks crowd.

"I just got in the flush," Murphy said. "I was in the wrong place in the wrong time. I'm glad they seen that."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mott admitted Murphy's case was weaker than the other defendants.

"Mr. Murphy was the only defendant we didn't have a (drug) buy for," Mott told the Daily News-Record.

Local and federal law enforcement officers arrested the men last summer after a two-year undercover investigation into the Warlocks Motorcycle Club.

Along with weapons, police confiscated methamphetamine and cocaine during raids of Warlocks hangouts. At least 26 people, including 10 from Berkeley County, W.Va., were indicted in an investigation that spread from the Shenandoah Valley into West Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Florida and New York.

The jury found Guynes, who is not a Warlocks member, guilty of one count each of conspiring to distribute cocaine and distributing cocaine, the Daily News-Record reported.

Guynes was acquitted on separate counts of conspiring to distribute marijuana, conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and conspiring to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, the paper said.

The jury found Newill, who also is not a Warlocks member, guilty of conspiring to distribute cocaine and three counts of distributing cocaine, the paper said. Newill was acquitted of counts of conspiring to distribute marijuana and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, the paper said.

Simmons, who the prosecution says was the president of the Warlocks' West Virginia chapter, was found guilty of one count each of conspiring to distribute cocaine, conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, transferring a weapon to a nonresident without a license and four counts of possession of a firearm by a drug user.

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