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Home » Uncategorized » Anthony police enforcing underage drinking laws

Anthony police enforcing underage drinking laws


Wednesday, December 4, 2019; Anthony, NM: A November house party in Anthony, NM, led to a felony arrest for the adult who provided alcohol to underage youth, who had a lot of explaining to do when picked up by their parents during the wee hours of the morning once released from police custody.

Anthony Chief of Police Vanessa Lara said the original call was to a late-night affray, a fight, between multiple subjects who fled into a private residence when law enforcement arrived on the scene.

Most underage drinking incidents in Anthony begin with a call “usually for an unrelated-alcohol offense like this incident specifically a public affray, but other offenses too like domestic violence or a loud party—it’s suspicious circumstance that we find the underage drinkers,” according to Chief Lara.

“Our officers have to have situational awareness, and we are looking at the bigger picture when we arrive on the scene to make sure our community is safe,” Chief Lara said.

The officers encountered an intoxicated youth who reeked of alcohol that answered the door of the residence in which the subjects had taken refuge had the officer’s asking to speak with the person responsible for the property, a woman who also appeared intoxicated.

 “We tried to speak with the homeowner about the social host ordinance and laws about underage drinking, but she was uncooperative,” said Anthony Police Sergeant Carry Montaño, one of the officers that responded to the initial call.

In 2016, Anthony passed a social host ordinance that holds property owners, or person responsible for the property like a lessee, liable for underage drinking on a premise.

The first offense is a misdemeanor punishable with a $250 fine, subsequent offenses within 12 months have rack up increased fines, up to $500 and/or 90 days in jail.

Also, the municipality can bill property owners to recovery costs incurred by the police department, fire department and other city emergency responders summoned to a social host violation.

“Social Host Ordinance is an effective tool to deter adults providing alcohol to minors in the home setting. We are grateful for local law enforcement agencies who work diligently to keep our communities safe from alcohol related harms,” said Alyssa Myrick, program specialist for Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County which supported the ordinance as an effective deterrent for underage drinking on private property.

In this case, Anthony Police held the perimeter with the aid of Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department while a search warrant was gained for the residence, where 17 individuals were found packed into a two-bedroom house littered with beer cans.

“We were concerned about people, and youth, drinking and driving as they tried to leave from the back of the residence, and our job is to keep community safe,” said Chief Lara.

Six juveniles at the residence were cited for intoxication.  That was enough evidence for Anthony Police to arrest the host for “criminal contributing to delinquency of a minor and now she’s facing felony charges,” said Chief Lara.

In New Mexico, it is a fourth degree felony to provide alcohol to someone under 21-years old. 

The parents of the intoxicated juveniles were contacted as well and released into their custody at 4 a.m.

“Most of the parents were disappointed in their child, and didn’t know what was going on,” said Sergeant Montaño. “Several thought their child was at someone else’s house spending the night.”

“I think the incident woke parents up and they will pay more attention to where their sons and daughters are wand with whom they are hanging out,” added Sergeant Montaña.

That was the intent of Anthony Trustee Fernie Herrera with the social host ordinance, “I hope the community will open their eyes to the drinking problem our kids have here and see that we are enforcing the social host ordinance; that it’s not just a paper law so they will think twice about allowing their kids to drink.”

These sentiments were echoed by Sergeant Montaña, “I think we need to educate our community that if someone under 21-years old is drinking alcohol at a party you host you are responsible. Be aware of who is in your home, and if they are underage don’t serve them.”

“Having the social host ordinance gives us leverage. If people don’t want to cooperate, we will hold them accountable at the misdemeanor or felony levels,” said Chief Lara.

“This ordinance goes a long way to show collaborative effort across region.” Hatch and Sunland Park are other Doña Ana County municipalities which have adopted similar social host ordinances.

“We want people safe in our city limits, and whole county,” Chief Lara said.

For more information contact Myrick at (575) 597-0024 or email:

This news release is made available by the Unified Prevention (UP!) Coalition for Doña Ana County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention.