A former Marine convicted of drugging and trafficking hundreds of women over two decades near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his crimes.
Jesse Gabriel Marks, 38, was arrested on a drug bust involving methamphetamine in 2019 by Onslow County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s deputies, according to court records.
He “prostituted hundreds of women, including at least one minor, over nearly two decades,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office statement. “He used drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, to keep them dependent on and prostituting for him.”
Marks would physically and emotionally abuse many of his victims and also gave women “drug cocktails” without their knowledge, the statement said. And “once they were unconscious or nearly unconscious, sexually assaulted them.”
“He recorded many of those sexual assaults on video,” according to the statement.
The scale of the operation was “staggering,” officials said. Victim estimates range between 200 and 600 in the past two decades.
“After meeting Marks, many victims either developed addictions or deepened their addictions, ruining their health and, in many cases, their lives,” according to the statement.
Marks was originally indicted on charges of methamphetamine and heroin distribution as well as sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
The drug charges were dropped as part of his plea agreement, which resulted in a sentence of 30 years followed by five years supervised release and an order to pay $249,700 in restitution to multiple victims.
U.S. Attorneys Office-Eastern District, North Carolina, spokesman Don Connelly provided response based on information provided at the May 7 sentencing hearing.
At least two of Marks’ victims were adult military dependents, many of his clients were members of the military.
“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.”
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Jacksonville (North Carolina) Police Department investigated the case with Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency.
NCIS spokesman Jeffrey Houston deferred Marine Corps Times’ questions about the case to Onslow County, North Carolina.
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, North Carolina.
The Corps did not release information regarding any charges or the nature of Marks’ discharge.
“Marks’ premature discharge and rank at time of separation are indicative of the fact that the character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards,” a Manpower and Reserve Affairs statement said. “Due to the associated administrative processes, further details are not releasable.”
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.