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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty In Connection With A Multi-year Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy

Longtime drug dealer assaulted W.Va. State Trooper during January 2012 traffic stop

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that an Ohio man pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a multi-year marijuana distribution conspiracy.  Robin Earl Slater, 51, of Langsville, Ohio, pleaded guilty to four federal charges: conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana; possession of firearms in furtherance of a marijuana conspiracy; convicted felon in possession of firearms; and obstruction of justice.  

Slater admitted today that he conspired to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana by supplying the drug to lower-level dealers in Putnam and Kanawha counties, as well as out of state. 

On January 23, 2012, a West Virginia State Trooper followed Slater into a store parking lot after observing the defendant commit several traffic violations in St. Albans, W.Va.  During an attempt to flee, Slater bit the police officer on the arm and pepper sprayed him.  Slater was arrested a short time after the violent altercation.  Following Slater’s arrest, police recovered $24,515, six firearms and drug ledgers from his vehicle. 

U.S. Attorney Goodwin said, “We owe it to our law enforcement officers to do everything we can to protect them on the job.  We’ve seen too many tragic, senseless law enforcement deaths in situations just like this:  routine encounters that suddenly turn violent.” Goodwin continued, “Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. I will spare no effort in prosecuting anyone who attacks them.”

Slater told police that the money he had was from individuals to whom he had supplied marijuana.  Slater also admitted that he possessed firearms to protect himself and the proceeds of his drug activity.
Slater faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on November 18, 2013 by Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

Slater has two prior felony drug convictions related to the distribution of marijuana.   

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in the United States by networking existing local programs targeting gun crime.

The West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Steven Loew is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated January 7, 2015