On Oct. 2, 2020, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents received information about a party that was to take place the next day, Oct. 3, and would be attended by high school students.
Charges are pending for Andrea Jones, 41, the owner of the property for 14-counts of the violation of social host law (97-5-49).
“We’ve heard more people who are aggravated, at this lady, for putting of this party because they took their kids up there for a reason,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “They were thinking — this gives them somewhere to go. They’ll be at some responsible adult’s house so we don’t have to worry about them doing things ... and they were doing exactly what they were worried about.”
ABC agents, assisted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department converged on the property, located at 294 CR 773, Guntown, where the party was taking place.
“Any parent could charge her (Jones) with contributing. I’ve actually got a parent bringing a child down here today,” Johnson said Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement discovered approximately 75-100 teenagers near a bonfire in front of the residence. Fourteen minors, ages 15-18, were arrested for possession of beer and/or liquor.
“We’re still looking at charging some of these juveniles. I’m going to call the judge shortly and talk with her because there are some parents, who are aggravated to the point, where they wish their child had been charged,” Johnson said. Some of the teens feel like they got away with it.
Agents also destroyed a large amount of beer, iced down in coolers. The minors were arrested and then released to their parents. The teenagers will have a pending court date in Lee County Justice Court. Numerous other minors, who had consumed alcohol, but were not observed to be in the possession of the alcohol, during the raid, were also released to their parents. The social host law makes it illegal for an adult, who owns or leases property, to knowingly allow a party to take place if a minor at the party, obtains, possesses or consumes alcoholic beverages, beer or light wine, if the adult knows that the minor has obtained, possess or is consuming alcoholic beverages.
“A lot of people around here decide to have what’s called pasture parties, and I can tell you of three or four occasions where the person who put the party on called us and say, ‘please come out here.’ They’ve ended up with 300 hundred people and don’t know what to do,” Johnson said. “But this case seems like this woman purposely and willfully held this party and furnished the alcohol.”
Each incident constitutes a separate offense and any person who violates the law shall be fined $1,000 or by imprisonment in county jail for not more than six months, or both fine and imprisonment.
“Believe me. Anytime this happens, we’re going to know about it — either through social media or through an invite, some parent sees through,” Johnson said. “We’ll call Alcoholic Beverage Control and we’ll all be there at your house.”
You can reach the ABC at 601-923-7630. If you have additional information about this crime, please call (662) 841-9040.
“We want kids to have a good time, we want them to celebrate, to enjoy life but we want them to live life,” Johnson said. “We want them to graduate and we want them to complete life. Graduation should not be the last year you live.”