Man who drove 50 kilos of pot to Gulfport as ‘party supplies’ has been in prison before

A local man with a prior drug trafficking conviction admitted he conspired to bring more than 50 kilos of marijuana to Gulfport for distribution during a spring break weekend.

Keandre Marks, 36, has entered a guilty plea while two El Paso, Texas, men await trial in U.S. District Court.

Marks was arrested in a traffic stop the night of April 6 on Interstate 10 as he approached the exit to Gulfport.

Then next morning, Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania announced the seizure of 109 pounds of “party supplies” from Texas that police found in a pickup truck Marks was driving. Papania said the marijuana had an estimated street value of about $200,000.

It was the weekend of the Biloxi Black Spring Break Weekend, but police have said the pot was intended for sale in Gulfport.

A federal indictment says Marks conspired with others in the trafficking of marijuana in Harrison County from Feb. 1 through May 12, the date of the indictment. Marks pleaded not guilty in June before his two co-defendants were brought to court here.

Marks accepted a plea deal Friday.

Marks was on probation for a 2009 conspiracy conviction in federal court involving the distribution of more than five kilos of cocaine, a court document shows.

Judge Sul Ozerden revoked his probation April 21, ordering a five-year prison term. Marks had received a prison term of nearly 12 years on the 2009 conviction and five years of probation. He also was fined $10,000.

Marks’ co-defendants, Carlos Orozco and Victor Alfonso Legarda, face trial Sept. 9 on charges of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and interstate travel in aid of drug-racketeering enterprises.

Both are free on bonds set in federal court in El Paso. Orozco’s bond is $15,000. Legarda’s is $20,000. Both are prohibited from traveling to Mexico until their charges are resolved, release orders show. Their bonds are secured by their assets.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews