By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff
Adults who help children drink, may want to think twice.
And stop. And stop now.
Armed with additional professional training and a grant to help offset investigative hours on the job, the Tucumcari and New Mexico State Police in Quay County are more likely to be arresting adults and parents who give and allow kids to drink alcohol, said Larry Ham, chief of the Tucumcari Police Department.
Underage teens like to hang out by the convenience store and tap a “pull-out” to go inside, buy them a bottle of booze or beer and “pull it out” for them. And the police are now more likely to nab the “pull-out” for purchasing alcohol for minors and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Law officials have their own slang for these types of arrests. They call it “source investigation,” said New Mexico State Police Lt. Cleo Baker at a recent Quay County Commission meeting.
Baker returned recently from a law enforcement workshop on source investigation in Baltimore where he and Mathew Montoya, a member of the Quay County DWI Task Force, learned more in-depth how to conduct these types of investigations.
Ham said Quay County residents have already seen two arrests from a text book case of source investigation. Ham cited the arrests of Crystal Cochran and Freddie Jaramillo, in connection with the death of Augustine “Auggie” Montiel on May 18.
Twelve-year-old Montiel was found drowned in the Tucumcari Canal. His blood alcohol was .13, police officials have said. Jaramillo was charged with purchasing alcohol for minors and Cochran with endangering a minor for allowing minors to drink in her apartment.
The adult legal limit is .18 or less.
Part of what is helping this initiative get off the ground is a $60,000 grant to the Quay County DWI Task Force program.
Noreen Hendrickson, who heads up the task force, has said that source investigations should help cut down on the number of kids drinking, because it will make adults think twice about giving minors alcohol.
For example, from July 1 to Sept. 30 of these year, there were 32 arrests for a minor in possession of an alcoholic substance in Quay County, according to DWI statistics. There were also 17 arrests in the same period for DWI. Of these 17, nine were first offenders, three were for a second offense, two were for a third offense and three were for a 4th offense.
Hendrickson has also said that what’s more important is that the overall program may prevent someone from being killed in an accident.
Those who were arrested had an average blood alcohol level of 0.143.
Arrests during the quarter were made by the New Mexico State Police (7), Tucumcari (8) and Logan (1) police departments and the Quay County Sheriff’s Department (1).