Couple denies knowing meth was in their spare tire

Mark Anthony Hanks, left, and Melissa Roxanne Brewer
Mark Anthony Hanks, left, and Melissa Roxanne Brewer

GULFPORT -- A Texas man and a Picayune woman have pleaded not guilty in a federal case involving meth found in a spare tire in a vehicle at a Gulfport motel.

Mark Anthony Hanks, 38, of Channelview, Texas, and Melissa Roxane Brewer, 49, of Picayune, and are set for trial May 9 on a two-count indictment filed March 10. Both are suspected of trafficking meth.

They pleaded not guilty March 17 in U.S. District Court.

They were arrested Feb. 12 after state and federal agents allegedly found about 19 ounces of meth in a spare tire in the trunk of Brewer's Nissan Altima. They also had an ounce of meth and $10,140 in suspected drug money when they were arrested at Motel 6 on U.S. 49.

A large cut was in the tire and meth was stuffed inside it, a Homeland Security Investigations agent said in an affidavit.

Court papers show a Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent had sent an informant to the couple's hotel room to buy an ounce of meth. The informant advised the agent that there was a lot of meth in the room.

HSI and MBN agents went to the motel, searched the vehicle and their room and arrested them on suspicion of drug-trafficking.

Hanks told agents it wasn't their first time to bring meth to Harrison County, the affidavit said. Hanks allegedly said he had come to Mississippi in December with 24 ounces of meth, which Brewer reportedly sold to people in Picayune.

Hanks said Brewer had picked him up Feb. 9 in Texas and they had brought 37.5 ounces of meth to Gulfport on Feb. 10 and they had rented a motel room in Brewer's name.

Court papers indicate the couple is suspected of bringing more than 3.8 pounds of meth to South Mississippi since December.

Both are held without bond. They each tested positive for illegal drug use and Hanks has "a substantial criminal history," a court document said. Also, Brewer was on probation for an escape conviction.

They were arraigned March 17.

Both face charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute meth.