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Man with 471 pounds of marijuana pleads guilty to drug trafficking

TOPEKA — A man who was arrested in Ellsworth County with 471 pounds of marijuana in his van pleaded guilty Tuesday to drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Mark Berg, 41, Coon Rapids, Minn., pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. According to court documents, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper noticed the van and two other vehicles traveling with it on Interstate 70 in Ellsworth County. Although one of the escort vehicles attempted to distract him, the trooper stopped the minivan Berg was driving. Berg told the trooper he had been in Las Vegas and had driven through Denver on his way home to Minnesota. After a drug dog sniffed the vehicle, investigators searched the van and found the marijuana.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 19. He faces a penalty of up to 40 years in federal prison. McAllister commended the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Skip Jacobs for their work on the case.