Hendry County teacher found guilty of selling drugs to middle school students

Author: State Attorney's Office
Maria Otilia Rivera. Photo via Hendry County jail

Authorities say a teacher at a Hendry County school was arrested and found guilty of selling drugs to middle school aged kids.

According to the State Attorney’s office, Maria Otilia Rivera, 37, was found guilty of two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Sell Within 1000 Feet of a School, one count of Sale in Lieu of a Controlled Substance, and two counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor following a one day bench trial in Hendry County.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office started an investigation in 2017 which revealed that Rivera, a teacher at Clewiston Middle School, sold illegal drugs to two students at the school – a 12 year old girl and 14 year old girl.

Rivera would take both of the girls off campus and teach them how
to prepare and ingest the drugs. The investigation indicated that these young girls had never used drugs prior to this.

Authorities say, at another time, Rivera took money from a student while at the school and
promised to deliver illegal drugs the following day. The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office was
alerted and interrupted this transaction, at which time controlled substances were found in
Rivera’s possession.

Rivera’s sentencing is scheduled for October 16th in LaBelle. She faces up to 35 years in
prison. Following her conviction, the State requested that Rivera be remanded into the custody of the Hendry County jail pending sentencing.

The presiding judge denied that request and, over the State’s objection, allowed Rivera to remain out of custody pending sentencing.

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