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South Dakota trooper back on duty after severe assault

PIERRE (AP) -- A South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper who was severely beaten and left for dead during a drug bust traffic stop 1 1/2 years ago helped in a recent bust that netted found 2 pounds of heroin and about $27,000 in cash and checks.

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PIERRE (AP) - A South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper who was severely beaten and left for dead during a drug bust traffic stop 1 ½ years ago helped in a recent bust that netted found 2 pounds of heroin and about $27,000 in cash and checks.

The Pierre Capital Journal reported that trooper Zac Bader and his service dog Karma pursued a man who ran from a vehicle with packages during a March 31 traffic stop.

The man, 59-year-old LeRoy Edwards Jr., was found at a farmstead without the packages. Highway Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan said Bader recovered 1.7 pounds of heroin in three vacuumed-sealed packages along Edwards' path. A bag of marijuana and money were found in the van.

Edwards and the vehicle's driver, 59-year-old Randi Edwards, were arrested and face drug-related charges.

Bader was severely beaten and left for dead during a drug bust traffic stop October 26, 2015. Donald Willingham, who was 33 at the time, assaulted Bader, before fleeing in a vehicle with two other men and one woman, prosecutors say.

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Bader sustained serious fractures in his face and head requiring a lengthy hospitalization and surgeries.

Willingham is in jail and faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a law officer and possession of marijuana with intent to deal. No trial has been scheduled, a court official said. The other three in the vehicle were also arrested and made deals with the prosecutor in 2015. They pleaded guilty to dealing marijuana and being accessories to a crime and agreed to testify against Willingham.

Bader returned to work October 1.

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