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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Marijuana Grower who Shot and Wounded Fleeing Robber and Unknowing Witness Sentenced to Prison

Defendant Fired A Dozen Shots In Quiet South King County Neighborhood

            A marijuana grower and dealer who used firearms to confront fleeing robbers, firing a dozen times in a residential neighborhood, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 32 months in prison and three years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JASON LOKEN, 38, of Maple Valley, Washington, thought he had lined up a 6 pound drug deal with a call girl he met via Backpage.com when he was confronted by two robbers who bound him and stole his marijuana, hash oil and guns.  Following the robbery LOKEN was able to free himself, grabbed another gun and started shooting, wounding two people.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart said, “This was a shootout… The sentences for the robbers are much longer, but you bear some responsibility for the decision to sell drugs and have guns.”  Judge Robart noted that even after the robbery, LOKEN continued to grow marijuana and purchased an additional handgun.  “This is not someone who has gained wisdom from the experience,” Judge Robart said.

“This defendant brought gunfire and danger to a quiet neighborhood.  He is not alone.  We are seeing an alarming increase in violence related to the marijuana trade,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “Guns and drugs are a dangerous and illegal mix.  Those that bring that danger to our neighborhoods will face a dear price.”

Last month the lead robber, repeat offender Melvin Charles Slaughter, 41, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the August 13, 2014 robbery.  Slaughter’s associate, Ferdinand Clay, will be sentenced next month.  Clay forced LOKEN to the floor and zip-tied his hands.  However, LOKEN was able free himself and grab a gun from under his mattress.  LOKEN raced out the front door and started firing – hitting one robber and wounding a woman who was driving a car associated with the robbers.  The woman had no idea she was involved in a drug rip-off.  Both people survived their wounds.

After shots were fired the robbery team sped away tossing bloodied items from the car, including some of the stolen firearms.  They were recovered by police along the highway.  The two who were injured went to different hospitals for treatment.  Slaughter and the other female member of the robbery crew later turned themselves in to police.  LOKEN claimed to be a grower for medical marijuana dispensaries, but later admitted that his marijuana manufacturing was in violation of state as well as federal law.

LOKEN pleaded guilty in December 2013 to manufacturing marijuana and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.
Updated March 20, 2015