Saratoga County

Police charge 25 in underage drinking bust

City police have charged 25 youths and young adults with underage drinking in the second major bust

City police have charged 25 youths and young adults with underage drinking in the second major bust of the month.

According to police, Joseph Mahoney, 20, hosted the party Friday night at his parents’ house at 251 S. Second St.

Police Chief Joseph Waldron said that the partiers ranged in age from 16 to 20.

Mahoney will soon face an additional misdemeanor charge because he hosted the party, police said.

“Our biggest thing is getting the person who is supplying a place for them to get this alcohol,” Waldron said. “Those are the people that we want to get after.”

The investigation is ongoing, and other charges could come, according to police.

Waldron said about 50 people were at the party, mostly underage. Some of the underage people had not been drinking alcohol and several ran from the scene once police arrived.

Three officers responded to the house at about 11:30 p.m. after a nearby resident tipped them off. Officer Steve Barton said that everyone was generally cooperative.

“I didn’t see anybody fall-down intoxicated or we would have called an ambulance for them,” he added.

Earlier this month, city police busted another party and charged eight teenagers with underage drinking.

“Thirty-three people have been arrested within the last two weeks for underage drinking,” Waldron said. “If that isn’t a good sign that there’s a problem, I don’t know what is.”

The 25 that were charged most recently are due in court Tuesday.

Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said that the youths and young adults who plead not guilty to the underage drinking charge will be prosecuted by his office.

Those people could go through a combination of online training, victim impact meetings or community service to avoid a fine, he said.

“This is not just all fun and games,” Murphy said. “Really, people can be killed or can be seriously injured because of this.”

Murphy agreed with Waldron that underage drinking is a huge problem in the area.

“A fine doesn’t do anybody any good. It doesn’t teach anybody anything but borrowing the money or having your parents write the check, which is meaningless,” Murphy said. “I think what is far more important is the educational piece.”

Earlier this month, county officials announced a plan to crack down on underage drinking and reckless driving as proms and graduations begin next month.

Waldron said he will increase his weekend nightly staffing from two officers to four.

“It’s really important to underscore that parents or adults who provide alcohol to minors is a criminal offense,” Murphy said. “A lot of parents don’t know.”

The City Council plans to consider a “social host” law next month that would allow police to arrest parents who own homes where kids are drinking alcohol if police believe the parents knew or should have known about the drinking.

The proposed local law would punish parents found guilty with up to 15 days in jail or a fine of $250.

Similar social host laws have been passed or considered in other local areas such as Stillwater, Niskayuna, Gloversville and Johnstown.

Categories: Schenectady County

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