Auburn signee Kalvaraz Bessent was arrested on marijuana-related charges following a traffic stop Friday, according to the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. The cornerback out of St. Mary’s, Ga., was arrested on two felony charges stemming from possession of marijuana over 20 grams and possession with intent, according to the county jail. He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
Bessent was released Saturday on $5,506 bond. He is due in court for arraignment Feb. 27. A 2007 Dodge Charger was stopped Friday at roughly 10 p.m. on U.S. 1 in western Nassau County for driving 58 mph in a 45 mph zone. Inside were four occupants, including driver Elbert Thornton, 21, of Jacksonville, sheriff Bill Leeper said.
A deputy smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana and upon searching the vehicle found four bags of marijuana totaling 202.5 grams underneath the driver’s seat and front passenger seat. Bessent was sitting in the front passenger seat. None of the four occupants, all male, took ownership of the marijuana and so all were arrested on the same charges, Leeper said. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn “is aware of the situation and is continuing to gather information,” a team spokesman said Saturday.
Bessent sent a message to his followers on Twitter following his arrest. “God knows the truth and he is going to stick with me through this if nobody else will!!” If convicted on all three charges, Bessent could face up to 11 years in prison, according to Florida state law. He faces five years on each felony charge and one year for drug paraphernalia. Bessent is rated a four-star cornerback out of Camden County and is ranked as the No. 11 cornerback in the country, according to 247sports.com. The 6-foot, 170-pound Bessent flipped to Auburn from Alabama in December, and signed a national letter of intent Wednesday.
Bessent could help the Tigers at boundary cornerback after Chris Davis graduated and left an open spot in the secondary. “Very athletic,” Malzahn said Wednesday. “(Cornerbacks) coach (Melvin) Smith identified him as one of the top corners early on, and he hung in there, kept recruiting him, and we really felt like we got a guy that can help us immediately. He’s got very good ball skills, and a very good cover guy.”
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