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Friday, December 8, 2023

Homeless man caught with meth in Walmart parking lot

Robert Eugene Marks
Robert Eugene Marks

A homeless man in Leesburg was charged with possession of methamphetamine after an officer found him sitting alone in a Walmart parking lot.

A police officer observed 48-year-old Robert Eugene Marks sitting alone on the north end of the parking lot of Walmart, located at 2501 Citrus Blvd., at around 2:41 a.m. Tuesday, according to an arrest report from the Fruitland Park Police Department.

Marks did not appear to be an employee, and the store was closed, the report said. Due to this unusual behavior late at night on the property of a closed business, the officer approached Marks to question his reasoning for loitering there.

Marks advised that he was not a store employee and was sitting there to “get away from it all.” The report noted that multiple public benches were located along sidewalks in the nearby vicinity of Walmart.

The officer stated that the business was closed, to which Marks replied he thought a friend was picking him up but could not explain further. He went on to give multiple varying explanations for his whereabouts, all of which were unusual for a law-abiding citizen at that time of day, the report said.

While the officer spoke with Marks, he advised he had a knife concealed behind his back. This was taken from his possession for safety during the rest of the encounter, the report said.

A check of Marks’ previous interactions with law enforcement revealed multiple prior trespasses and narcotics usage. Marks’ pupils were pinpointed, and the officer observed scars on a few places on his body consistent with narcotics usage.

Due to Marks’ history and scars, the officer asked him when the last time he used an illicit substance was. Marks advised that he consumed methamphetamine that morning, but that he did not have any in his possession. He gave the officer permission to search his bag and person, the report said.

A search of his person resulted in the officer locating a brown vial with an unknown liquid in Marks’ front right jean pocket, the report said. He stated he did not know what it was and that he had not opened it. He claimed to have recently found it on the ground behind Walmart, thinking it was potentially CBD oil or some sort of tobacco juice.

The label of the vial was rubbed off, so the contents were not clearly stated. Inside the vial, a powdery white substance surrounded the opening. Inside the dropper of the vial was a brown liquid containing multiple pieces of a crystal-like substance. This tested positive for methamphetamine.

Marks was then placed under arrest and taken to the Lake County Jail, where bond was set at $2,000.


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