Two men who dealt with large amounts of drugs in Tazewell County were sent to prison Friday in unrelated cases.

For Markquez Porter, 37, of Chicago, his nine-year sentence will keep him in custody beyond his scheduled parole in April on a theft conviction in Cook County. Porter has also served a 10-year term for armed robbery and a six-year-term for attempted murder and armed robbery, also imposed in Cook.

Porter returned to Tazewell’s felony court for the first time after he failed to appear while free on $6,000 cash bond imposed after his arrest in November 2015.

He pleaded guilty Friday to possessing 17 grams of heroin with intent to distribute. A charge of possessing two pounds of marijuana was dismissed in his plea agreement.

An Illinois State Police trooper discovered the drugs after stopping a vehicle driven by Daveena Howard, 27, also of Chicago, for speeding on Interstate 74 as she and Porter were heading toward Peoria, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit. The trooper searched the car after smelling a strong odor of burnt marijuana and discovered the drugs in the vehicle’s trunk.

Howard, also free on bond, is scheduled to next appear on the heroin and marijuana charges on Jan. 29.

In the second case, Charles Watkins, 32, of Peoria, received a 10-year sentence with his guilty plea to conspiracy to deliver nearly 200 grams of cocaine at the Par-A-Dice Hotel in East Peoria.

An investigation by Peoria detectives led them last March 2 to the hotel, where they stopped Watkins as he drove in its parking lot. In his pockets were marijuana and $1,000 in cash, a prosecutor’s affidavit stated.

With a search warrant, the detectives discovered 125 grams of powder cocaine; 60 more of crack cocaine, packaged for sale; and more than $12,500 in cash in joint rooms that Watkins shared with Dominic Wright, 27, also of Peoria, the affidavit stated.

Watkins, who has at least three prior drug-related convictions, has remained in custody since his arrest on $250,000 bond. Wright also remains in custody pending his next court appearance on Jan. 29.

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