Penticton gangster claims innocence on drug charge
Once described by police as a known member of a criminal organization, a former Penticton man is on trial for possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Steven Phillip King was arrested on June 28, 2010, with an alleged 6.7 grams of crack cocaine at his then-residence in a townhouse complex at 101-296 Maple St.
Cpl. Timothy Anderson gave evidence of the drug search warrant executed that day by Penticton Drug Task Force members stating that to his knowledge King was a member of the Game Tight Soldiers gang.
Anderson told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin that RCMP entered the house and found King sitting on a couch in the living room on his cell phone.
While performing the search of the townhouse RCMP seized a bag of individually wrapped crack cocaine found in a zipper cover of the couch, two digital scales, three vials of steroids, a T-shirt in the master bedroom with the initials GTS on the front chest and the name King printed on one of the arms, a framed photo of King holding a gun, a laptop that was later determined to be stolen, scoresheets commonly used by drug dealers to keep record of their sales and other items known to be used in the drug trade.
Defence witness Mika Grgich testified Thursday that she viewed King as her brother and would often visit his Maple Street residence because he had a “phobia about being alone.”
She said the notebook RCMP identified as drug scoresheets was actually mostly used for keeping score of dice games that King and herself often played for money.
In other portions of the notebook she said she didn’t know what the numbers referred to and at least one page she said was her personal scorebook.
Grgich said she was told by King she was not supposed to bring drugs into his house, but she sometimes did so anyway for her own personal use or she would go to a nearby corner store to sell to others.
She was adamant that she never purchased drugs from King, nor did he know she was bringing drugs into his house.
Crown counsel Kylie Walman asked Grgich on cross examination about King’s association with the Game Tight Soldiers.
“He was, when I was young,” said Grgich. “It was over a decade ago”
Grgich said King was not the leader of that gang and she did not know who was. Walman also asked if King was still involved with the gang. Grgich replied that King was not a permanent resident here and she didn’t ask many questions about the gang.
Crown counsel argued King would have seen the sandwich bags and scale found on his kitchen table and if anything he was wilfully blind.
Justice Griffin questioned Crown during submissions about at least two other alleged drug dealers who often came to the house and one who even had a house key.
Walman went back to Grgich’s testimony of it being a “no-no” to bring drugs into King’s house. Crown said it was not plausible that someone would leave drugs there without King’s knowledge.
Defence counsel James Pennington said the case was circumstantial and again referenced evidence that there were lots of people who had access to the house and that was confirmed by the alleged scoresheets that had lots of different handwriting and notes in it. Pennington asked that the charges be dismissed.
Vancouver police once alleged King was the leader of the organized crime group Game Tight Soldiers which also associated with the Renegades, a Hells Angels puppet club.
The Western News reported just over a week after the drug search warrant was executed at King’s home in 2010 that gunshots were fired at the complex. One bullet came through the front window of the living room missing all three occupants at the address where King was arrested for possession of crack cocaine.
Kerry James Ellis also faced the same charge of possession of drugs, in addition to two breaches. All of those charges received a judicial stay of proceedings on Monday in Penticton Supreme Court.
A decision from Justice Griffin on the possession of trafficking charge against King is expected on Friday.