(Updated) Auburn football: Cornerback signee Kalvaraz Bessent arrested on felony drug charges

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 8, 2014 

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn cornerback signee Kalvaraz Bessent was arrested Saturday morning in Florida.

The four-star prospect out of Camden County (Ga.) was arrested by the Nassau County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office -- the neighboring county just south of where Bessent resides.

According to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, Bessent's arrest came as a result of a traffic stop. A 2007 Dodge Charger driven by Elbert Thornton was pulled over by a Nassau County deputy on U.S. Route 1 on Friday night just after 10 p.m. for exceeding the speed limit, clocked at 58 miles per hour in a posted 45 mph zone. While performing the traffic stop, the deputy detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the car.

After asking all four occupants to step out of the vehicle, a search was conducted, where the deputy seized four separate bags containing 202.5 grams of marijuana under the driver's and the front passenger seat where Bessent had been. None of the individuals took ownership, with each being placed under arrest on the same three counts: marijuana possession of more than 20 grams (a felony); marijuana possession with intent to distribute (a felony); and possession of drug paraphernalia (a misdemeanor).

Bessent was released Saturday after posting the $5,506 bond -- $2,502 for both the felony charges and $502 for the misdemeanor.

His arraignment is set for Feb. 27.

Just after 7 p.m. ET Saturday night, Bessent took to his personal Twitter account.

"God knows the truth and he is going to stick with me through this if nobody else will!!" he tweeted.

Auburn's athletic department did not release an official statement on the arrest, but a team spokesman confirmed that coach Gus Malzahn was "aware of the situation and is continuing to gather information."

Bessent was one of three cornerbacks the Tigers signed in their 2014 class. Last fall, Bessent made 34 tackles, had two interceptions and tallied 573 all-purpose yards on his way to being named an Under Armour All-American. He was expected to come in and compete for the starting cornerback position vacated by senior Chris Davis.

"Very athletic," Malzahn said of Bessent on Wednesday. "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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