MIAMI — Trafficking charges were dropped against the father of a convicted teen killer who authorities believe was running a methamphetamine drug ring with a contraband cellphone while incarcerated at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Kenneth Lee Tate, 58, of Fairland, appeared in Ottawa County District Court on Friday, June 14 for a preliminary hearing on conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Instead the charge was dropped.
“The charge was dismissed after the district attorney’s office received new information prompting prosecutors to fully explore and possibly filing new charges,” said Randall Yates, assistant district attorney.
Tate’s son, Slint, is heard on a phone wiretap telling the elder Tate he needs to sell 25 pounds of a controlled dangerous substance, according to an arrest affidavit.
After the drug ring is exposed in May 2016 authorities intercepted a messages from Kenneth Tate to his son with instructions to wipe his phone clean and the younger Tate texting back with the message “I will flush it,” the arrest affidavit states.
District Attorney Kenny Wright refers to the group of 28 defendants as the “Slint Tate Drug Ring,” saying it is responsible for moving at least five pounds of meth a week, with a street value approximately $250,000 to $1 million.
Of the defendants 14 individuals have received suspended sentences, are in custody of the Department of Corrections, federal custody, probation or charges were dismissed.
Slint Tate, 34, has not been charged. He is serving a life sentence for the 1999 shooting death of Vernie Milford Roberts, a Delaware County reserve deputy. Tate was 16 when he fatally shot Roberts.