Crime

Former Florida middle school teacher found guilty of selling drugs to students 

Maria Rivera
Maria Rivera Hendry County Sheriff's Office

A former Florida middle school teacher accused of selling drugs to her students was found guilty, according to court records.

On Wednesday, a Hendry County jury found Maria Rivera, 37, guilty of numerous charges including drug possession, selling within 1,000 feet of a school and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the minutes from the hearing show.

WBBH-TV first reported the verdict. She could do up to 35 years in prison, the station reported.

Hendry County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Rivera in December 2017, according to her arrest report. A teacher at Clewiston Middle School, Rivera would sell marijuana to students then drive them off campus to smoke it.

A student turned sheriff’s office informant led to Rivera’s arrest on Dec. 8. After the student paid Rivera $20 for marijuana and Xanax, Rivera drove with the student off school grounds when investigators intercepted her vehicle.

She was arrested after a search of her car revealed synthetic marijuana and two Xanax pills.

Rivera has been free since she posted a $101,000 bond in March 2018. Her sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 16.

C. Isaiah Smalls II is a reporter covering breaking and trending news for the Miami Herald. Previously, he worked for ESPN’s The Undefeated as part of their inaugural class of Rhoden Fellows. He is a graduate of both Columbia University and Morehouse College.
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