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Marijuana dealer arrested in W.Va. gets 35 years

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- An Ohio man who was accused of biting and pepper spraying a West Virginia state trooper during a January 2012 traffic stop was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in federal prison for running a marijuana enterprise.

Robin Earl Slater, 51, of Langsville, Ohio, was sentenced in federal court in Huntington on four charges.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said a state trooper saw Slater commit several traffic violations and followed his car into a store parking lot in St. Albans in January 2012.

During the traffic stop, Slater bit the trooper on the arm and pepper sprayed him, authorities said. Slater was eventually restrained and arrested. Six firearms, nearly $25,000 cash and drug ledgers were found in the car, authorities said.

Goodwin said Slater conspired to distribute between 3,000 and 10,000 kilograms of marijuana to lower-level dealers in Putnam and Kanawha counties as well as out of state.

Slater pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana; possession of firearms in furtherance of a marijuana conspiracy; being a convicted felon in possession of firearms; and obstruction of justice.

Slater was a fugitive on the federal charges when he led police in Pulaski, Ky., on a chase in August 2012, said Goodwin, who called the sentence the longest in recent memory in a marijuana conspiracy case in his district.

"Mr. Slater's attack on a state trooper was a brazen and dangerous attempt to protect his drug enterprise," Goodwin said. "We've seen far too many law enforcement tragedies in situations like this: routine encounters that quickly turn violent. Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe."


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