Rifle police crack down on liquor violations
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colo. ” If you’re underage and looking for alcohol, don’t do it in Rifle.
“The main idea that we’re trying to get out right now is that underage consumption, possession of alcohol isn’t tolerated,” said Rifle Officer Kirk Wilson. “Those that are thinking about violating laws when it comes to alcohol should think again, especially when they want to do it in Rifle.”
Liquor violations came under scrutiny by Rifle police after tips from the community last week. The information resulted in a crackdown that began Thursday and continued through the weekend. In all, police issued citations to three liquor establishments, 12 adults and one juvenile.
On Thursday, Morgan Cooper, 20, of New Castle, was cited with a violation for being underage in a 21-and-over environment at Cheermeisters. Police believe a bouncer there, Tracy Anthony, allowed Cooper inside without checking her identification. Anthony and the owner, Suleiman AbuHalimeh, were both cited with a violation for allowing an underage person on the premises, according to Wilson.
On Friday, Police arrested Jessica Martinez and Wade LaCount, both 19, of Rifle, on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, criminal impersonation and underage possession or consumption of alcohol. Police believe the pair bought alcohol at Jon’s Liquor for themselves and a group of four 16-year-olds who waited in the store parking lot.
Police cited the clerk, Kimberly Milender, and a manager, Shona Hoffmeister, with distribution to minors. Police issued the same citation to Sergio Flores Arellano, a manager at Fiesta Guadalajara. Police believe the two 19-year-olds were served alcohol there earlier Friday night.
On Saturday at about 12:30 a.m., police stopped a vehicle suspected of speeding and arrested Ramiro Mendez, 32, of Pharr, Texas, on suspicion of DUI. At about 7:15 p.m., police arrested Julio Perez Lopez, 25, of Rifle, on suspicion of DUI, driving without a license and careless driving. He allegedly backed his car over a curb and hit a power converter box.
Officers also encountered a vehicle driving the wrong way on a one-way segment of Clarkson Avenue around 9:30 p.m. They arrested Blane Tresedder, 52, of Rifle, on suspicion of DUI and failure to obey a traffic control device.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a call about a vehicle that had crashed into the back of a parked pickup truck on the 400 block of East 12th Street. Lucio Gomez Almazan, 39, of Rifle, was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Wilson said there’s no more of a problem with liquor violations in Rifle than in any other town. He said police see more violations during any event like the Garfield County Fair, and that more underage drinking seems to occur during the summer. But it was out of character to see so many violations over just a few days.
“It is unusual to see all of this activity come together at once,” he said. “It was nice to see that the community knows that this isn’t right, and people within the community have started to contact us.”
Wilson said one thing most people probably don’t realize is the civil liability they could bring upon themselves by violating liquor laws. For instance, if an underage drinker causes injury to someone else, the individual who served the alcohol could be sued for potentially large amounts of money, Wilson said.
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