A Beaver Dam man who lost his marriage, business and his health to a methamphetamine addiction was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to seven years in prison followed by four years of supervised release.
Michael Marks, 47, had two successful businesses including Marks Family Trucking Company and a local restaurant, but was introduced to methamphetamine by truckers several years ago and became addicted, his attorney, Anthony Cotton wrote the court.
Marks got his cousin, Williams Marks, of Columbus, to bring methamphetamine back from California after escorting oversized trucks to the West Coast.
“(Michael Marks) was running a methamphetamine business… with William making seven trips to California returning with seven pounds,” for Michael, to distribute, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Elgersma told District Judge James Peterson.
Michael Marks was indicted with his cousin in February for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Both men pleaded guilty to the charge.
Michael Marks faced 70 to 87 months in prison under advisory federal guidelines, which factored in a prior domestic battery conviction and the seven pounds of methamphetamine the government alleged as relevant conduct.
Elgersma argued for a sentence at the high end of the guidelines, saying Marks’ drug dealing was a danger to the community and that he trafficked and used methamphetamine while on state probation for the battery conviction.
Cotton sought a five-year sentence, saying it “will exceed anything he’s ever dreamed of.”
Marks had a misdemeanor but no prior felony convictions and Cotton said that his cousin exaggerated the amount of methamphetamine he brought back from California.
Cotton said Marks’ addiction exacerbates his anger management issues and his use of methamphetamine had really “ramped up” in recent years, but more recently he has come “to grips with it.”
Marks has serious health issues with his heart, hearing and vision, Cotton said.
Marks took a moment to gather himself before apologizing saying he, “hurt a lot of people, especially my family. I was too stubborn to get help but I need help.”
Peterson saw the Marks men equally culpable in the drug business they operated and made Michael’s seven-year sentence equal to the sentence he imposed on William in September.
Peterson recommended that Michael Marks receive substance abuse and mental health counseling in prison, but Peterson did not impose a fine because his trucking business is in bankruptcy and the IRS is seeking payment for back taxes.
Peterson credited Marks four months for time spent in federal custody after his state probation was revoked.
Marks was arrested in November after an investigation by the Dodge County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force and the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.
A subsequent search of the trucking business property recovered more than a pound of methamphetamine, according to Elgersma.
William Marks, 46, had been arrested days earlier and Hope Kissinger, 34, of Eau Claire, a customer of the Markses, also was arrested in November 2016.
Peterson sentenced Kissinger in September to two years in prison.