U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Washington
Western District of Washington
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2014
Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney
Contact: Emily Langlie
Repeat Offender Sentenced To 14 Years in Prison for Gun Battle Involving Marijuana Distribution
Felon Stole Guns and Marijuana from Marijuana Grower and Distributor
A federal felon who was still under court supervision when he committed an armed robbery of a marijuana distributor was sentenced today to 14 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. MELVIN CHARLES SLAUGHTER, 31, was on supervision for a bank fraud conviction in August 2013, when he robbed a Maple Valley, Washington marijuana trafficker. After robbing the marijuana dealer at gunpoint, two of SLAUGHTER’s cohorts were shot by the dealer as they tried to flee. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted that federal prosecution of the case was fully appropriate.
“A neighborhood became a shooting range because this defendant and his drug trafficker brought their violent business into its quiet streets,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This is the fourth case we have charged in less than a year that involved gunfire used in connection with a marijuana business. Guns and drugs do not mix. Those who put lives and community safety at risk will be held accountable.”
On August 13, 2014, SLAUGHTER and three cohorts drove in two cars to the Maple Valley home of a person they knew distributed marijuana. One of the people with SLAUGHTER waited in the car thinking the other three were simply purchasing drugs. In fact, SLAUGHTER and another man robbed the drug trafficker of marijuana and numerous firearms at gunpoint, tying his hands with zip ties. As SLAUGHTER and two others left the house, the trafficker was able to free himself, grab a firearm he had hidden under the mattress of his bed, and started shooting. The woman who waited in the car was hit, as was SLAUGHTER’s co-defendant Ferdinand Clay. Clay was shot in the face, neck and hip but recovered from his wounds. Clay pleaded guilty to robbery and brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and faces a mandatory minimum seven years in prison when sentenced on June 6, 2014.
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 turned themselves in to police.
The marijuana dealer has also been charged. Jason Loken has pleaded guilty to drug and firearms charges and will be sentenced for his criminal conduct on May 27, 2014.
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.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.