A convicted murder who masterminded a methamphetamine drug ring behind bars pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and will be sentenced on Sept. 11.
The plea agreement recommendation for Slint Kenneth Tate, 35, is 20 years, according to federal online records.
Tate was accused of using a contraband cell phone from his Oklahoma State Penitentiary cell in McAlester from March 2015 to May 2016 to move at least five pounds of methamphetamine a week, with a street value approximately $250,000 to $1 million.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to combating criminal enterprises operating within the Oklahoma prison system,” said United States Attorney Trent Shores in a prepared statement.
The 29-member drug ring faced drug, weapon, trafficking, and conspiracy charges in Ottawa County District Court and were referred to by authorities as the “Slint Tate Drug Ring.”
The charges, which included both Delaware and Ottawa County cases initally, were eventually combined in Ottawa County by Delaware/Ottawa County District Attorney Kenny Wright.
The use of contraband cellular telephones enables drug organizations to conduct significant conspiratorial activity while conspirators are inside the prison system, Shores said.
“This is unacceptable,” Shores said.
Tate’s common law wife, Robin Zumwalt-Tate stored money from drug transactions, drugs, and weapons at her Miami residence.
Of the 28 defendants charged in Ottawa County District Court, 24 individuals have received suspended sentences, probation, charges dismissed, incarcerated in the state Department of Corrections or their cases were moved to federal court and others are incarcerated at a federal correctional facility, records show.
Adam J. Wilderman, 41, of Pittsburg, Kansas, is set for plea on July 3 in Ottawa County District Court.
The three remaining defendants: Dinah Williams, Terry Danley Jr., and Henry Drake II all have pending court cases in Ottawa County District Court.
The message sent by this prosecution is clear, Shores said.
“If you use a contraband telephone while in prison to conduct drug operations, we will investigate and prosecute you,” Shores said. “We will recommend significant federal time in prison for you.”
Individuals will be prosecuted who help facilitate the commission of these crimes, he said.
Jeremy Mann, Matthew Stroud, Todd Pryer, Rachel Danley, Ashton Manicom and Zumwalt-Tate were also charged with federal drug crimes.
Pryer, 46, of Fairland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced on June 13 to 10 years.
Stroud, 36, of Miami, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a communication facility and was sentenced on June 14 to four years.
Mann, 30, of Miami, pleaded conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and is set to be sentenced on July 13.
Manicom, 23, of Grove, pleaded guilty to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced on June 13 to 10 years.
Danley, 31, of Miami, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of community facility and received five years on probation.
Zumwalt-Tate, 36 of Miami, pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a communication facility for committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking felony. She will be sentenced on Sept. 12.
Tate is serving a life sentence without parole for the shooting death of Vernie Milford Roberts, a Delaware County reserve sheriff’s deputy.
Tate was 16 at the time of the fatal shooting.