Salsa Dance Defense

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) — Tommy Chong, who played one half of the dope-smoking duo in the Cheech and Chong movies, asked for leniency from a judge Thursday but was sentenced to nine months in prison for conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia.

Chong’s attorneys argued for no jail time, saying the actor and comedian would use his celebrity to become a role model against drugs and would dedicate his life to public service.

The 65-year-old apologized to the court and his family, saying he “got carried away” with his movie character.

He admitted once having “a drug problem with marijuana” but said he beat it by redirecting his energy to salsa dancing.

“It’s a Latin American dance that’s awesome,” Chong told U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab before the judge imposed the sentence, which included a $20,000 fine.

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