By BRAD KELLAR
An Arkansas man has pleaded guilty to the possession of more than 200 pounds of marijuana.
Omar Perez of Waldron, Ark. entered an open plea of guilty during a hearing in the 354th District Court Monday to one count of possession of between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana. An open plea means no plea bargain agreement had been arranged in the case and that Perez is subject to the full range of punishment.
Judge Richard A. Beacom accepted the plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 17.
The charge is a second degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office filed a civil suit against Perez last summer, seeking the seizure of almost $700 cash and a 2004 BMW sedan. The suit remained pending Monday.
According to the suit, a deputy with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on the BMW at the 104 mile marker of eastbound Interstate 30 on Feb. 8, 2012 after Perez was observed following too close to another vehicle. Perez allegedly claimed his uncle in Houston loaned him the vehicle to drive back to Arkansas following a visit.
Perez was asked if there was any luggage in the car and Perez replied there was not. When the deputy inquired if Perez had any change of clothing, he reportedly said he had given it all to his cousin in Houston, who didn’t have any money, noting the BMW had belonged to another cousin.
The deputy received consent to search the vehicle and allegedly discovered two duffel bags, and several other bundles of plastic bags, which contained 233 pounds of marijuana.
The suit claimed the $687 Perez had on him at the time, as well as the BMW, should be forfeited as contraband as they were used in the commission of illegal activities.