Their infant boy tests positive for methamphetamine
Alamogordo, NM – The Alamogordo Police Department has charged the parents of a seven-month-old boy with child abuse after the infant allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Magistrate Court records.
Tommy Carabajal, 35, and Jonnie Desersa, 20, are charged with one count each of third-degree felony child abuse for allegedly placing their child in a dangerous situation, according to records. The charges stem from an investigation that began with an April 22 traffic stop for a broken tail light.
Carabajal and Desersa were jailed at the Otero County Detention Center on a $15,000 apiece cash or surety bonds pending their appearance in court, records state.
The decision to charge Carabajal and Desersa marks at least the second time in the last month that the APD has filed child abuse charges against a parent who allegedly exposed a child to methamphetamine.
In April, the department charged a 37-year-old Alamogordo man with child abuse after his 6-year-old son allegedly tested positive for the drug. Records show that the state has since dismissed the case against the father without prejudice pending further investigation, which means that criminal charges can still be filed against him at a later time.
APD Detective Lt. Roger Schoolcraft said drug testing the children of habitual drug users is “relatively new” for the department. He said the practice developed within the last couple years as a way to hold parents accountable for what they do around their children.
“We’re talking about airborne things, like smoking meth or smoking marijuana,” Schoolcraft said. “That has a direct effect on people’s children, so we’re obviously drafting search warrants for hair follicle testing to see if those children have been subjected to drugs. And more often than not, they are.”
Carabajal and Desersa were arrested after APD officers conducted a traffic stop on their pickup truck in the 700 block of U.S. Highway 70 West April 22, records state. Officers reported that Desersa was driving the blue Chevrolet pickup truck while Carabajal was a passenger in the back of the vehicle, seated with an unbuckled infant in a carrier.
Records state that Carabajal was sweating profusely and that the front seat passenger appeared to be under the influence due to slurred speech, slow movements and bloodshot eyes.
APD officers ticketed Desersa for three violations, including for not buckling in the infant, according to records. They then received her consent to search the vehicle based on the behavior of her passengers.
Records state that officers found a container and pen shaft with white residue under the front passenger seat as well as a baggie of methamphetamine on the floor board of the driver’s seat.
Carabajal allegedly told officers that he had last used methamphetamine about a week earlier, according to records.
Officers arrested Carabajal the day of the traffic stop on an outstanding Magistrate Court warrant, according to APD logs. Five days later, APD officers arrested Desersa on a Magistrate Court warrant for alleged failure to comply with conditions of probation.
Drug tests on both Carabajal and Desersa indicated that they each had methamphetamine in their system, according to records. Desersa allegedly told officers that she and Carabajal have consumed methamphetamine together.
Records state that the APD executed a search warrant for a hair follicle sample from their seven-month-old son and had the sample tested at a local drug screening facility. The test came back positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines at an amount more than double the designated cutoff point.
Schoolcraft said the APD filed the child abuse charge against Desersa on May 6. Police logs state that the department filed the charge against Carabajal on May 12.