Former Marine sentenced to 30 years in prison for drugging, trafficking women in North Carolina
ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A former Camp Lejeune Marine has been sentenced to prison on human trafficking charges that spanned over two decades where he drugged hundreds of women and prostituted them.
On Friday, 38-year-old Jesse Gabriel Marks was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in September 2020 to charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
As part of his plea deal, the drug charges involving methamphetamine and heroin distribution were dropped, but Marks must pay $249,700 in restitution to several victims.
Court documents and other information presented in court say Marks prostituted between 200 and 600 women over nearly two decades. While at least one victim was a minor, at least two of Marks' victims were adult military dependents, and many of his clients were members of the military.
He would use drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, to keep them addicted and continue prostituting for him.
A press release from The United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of North Carolina says, "Marks physically and emotionally abused many of the victims. He also gave women drug cocktails without their full knowledge and, once they were unconscious or nearly unconscious, sexually assaulted them. He recorded many of those sexual assaults on video."
Marks was originally indicted on charges of methamphetamine and heroin distribution as well as sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
Marks joined the Marines out of Lansing, Michigan, in April 2000 and was discharged as a private in October 2002, according to Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
He was an 0311 rifleman last assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune.
The Marine Corps Times reported on an inquiry made to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and spokesman Don Connelly provided a response based on information from the sentencing.
"Indeed, evidence indicated that he used his experience as a Marine to teach women working for him how to better target Marines," Connelly wrote. "He also sold drugs to Marines."
That, in part, is how Marks initially was investigated and arrested, officials said. He sold drugs to a Marine who then identified Marks as his source to law enforcement.
"(Marks) confessed to prostituting over two hundred victims and one witness put that number at closer to six hundred," Connelly wrote. "He sold many kilograms of narcotics, including cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine."
Marks' arrest record is extensive and dates back to July 2002, three months before he was discharged from the military. Convictions range from larceny, breaking and entering, assault, possession of a scheduled II controlled substance, to serving jail time for loitering for prostitution and soliciting prostitution in 2012.
He has spent a total of 4 years and 11 months behind bars before last Friday's sentencing.
The Onslow County Sheriff's Office, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Jacksonville Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin C. Blondel and Bryan Stephany prosecuted the case.
A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Onslow County Sheriff's Office for questions regarding the case.
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