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Middle school teacher arrested on 12 drug and neglect charges

Posted at 11:27 PM, Dec 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-09 22:40:50-05

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. - A Hendry County substitute teacher has been arrested on drug and neglect charges

Hendry County Sheriff's Deputies say 35-year-old Maria Otilla Rivera-Magana sold marijuana to two Clewiston Middle School students. The students complained of being ill and reportedly admitted to smoking the marijuana they bought from Rivera-Magana. 

During an investigation into the student's claims, Deputies arranged to make a purchase from the teacher. 

Rivera-Magana is charged with two counts of Possession of Synthetic Drug, with Intent to Sell within 1000' of a School, Two counts Possession of Marijuana within 1000' of School, Two counts Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Sell within 1000' of a School, Two Counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Two Counts of Interference with  and Two counts of Neglect of a Child.  Additional criminal charges are pending.

"I commend Deputy Pelham and members of the Narcotics Division.  We cannot and will not allow this behavior to continue on our school campuses", said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden.  "The School district and administrators were very cooperative and without their support in this case, it could have been more difficult to make this arrest occur".  Whidden went on to say, "one of the advantages we have here is the overwhelming cooperation and working relationship between the Hendry County School District and the Sheriff's Office, for which we are grateful".

Rivera-Magan had her first appearance in front of a judge Saturday morning. Her bond is set at $100,500.

When Four In Your Corner spoke with parents who live near the school, they were upset by what they considered a flaw in the school system. One of those parents is Scott White. He's lived in the area for 50 years and says an incident like this is not something he expected to happen.

"We put our kids in the trust of these teachers and, you know it's just a sad situation", he told Fox 4. 

White has a daughter who once attended Clewiston Middle School. He says he's grateful that it didn't happen while she was a student there. 

"I'm just thankful my daughter wasn't involved in it. For the kids who were involved in it, I feel sorry for them I really do."