Alex Livorio Rivera, 21, of Franklin, was arrested Sunday, July 28, by Franklin Police Officer Elija Kirkland and charged with felony possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance, possession with intent to sell/distribute synthetic cannabinoid (86 grams), and possession of marijuana up to a half ounce. A large amount of money and credit cards were seized. Rivera was held on a $25,000 bail.
According to Captain Stephen Apel, the arrest occurred after Kirkland observed a suspicious vehicle stopping at various eateries on the Georgia Road. Driving back to the area, Kirkland saw the vehicle stopping at businesses again.
"Officer Kirkland found the activity to be suspicious and when he followed him he noticed an equipment malfunction on the truck," said Apel.
Once the vehicle was pulled over in the Huddle House parking lot, the officer proceeded to interview the multiple people in the truck. Rivera, who was riding in the bed of the truck, was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. Following that discovery, his backpack was searched and 86 grams of synthetic marijuana was found.
"Basically what it comes down to is an effective interview strategy carried out by officer Kirkland at the scene," said Apel.
Synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic marijuana was made illegal to possess, distribute or use in North Carolina in June after the N.C. General Assembly passed House Bill 813.