Region 8 county cracking down on underage drinking

Ricardo Reyes Arevalo (Source: Independence Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Ricardo Reyes Arevalo (Source: Independence Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Hundreds of beer cans and other bottles of booze are off the streets in Independence County after sheriff's deputies raided a house this morning in Batesville.  In the past several months Sheriff Steve Jeffery said more teens are abusing alcohol in his dry county.  About three weeks ago a citizen came forward saying they believed they were living next door to a "bootlegger".

Last week Juana Perez was arrested.  Now another bootlegger is out of business.  Hundreds of beer cans, some still cold, are still now sitting in evidence in Independence County.  Friday morning deputies arrested Ricardo Reyes Arevalo.  He is charged with possession of alcohol for barter or trade in a dry county the second arrest in two weeks.

"We made two controlled buys from both locations and obtained search warrants," said Jeffery.

Sheriff Steve Jeffery said it's great to get the alcohol off the streets especially when they take into account who some of the clients were. "Both places were selling it to teenagers," said Jeffery.

Jeffery said that information led officers to make both busts very quickly. "We've got approximately 140 to 150 cases off the streets before the 4th and a lot of it would have gone to juveniles," said Jeffery.

While teenage drinking isn't a new problem it is a growing one. "We've had lots of teenagers being intoxicated lately," said Jeffery.

Jeffery said the White River on the east side of town is a place teenagers like to hang out. "Unfortunately they want to bring alcohol with them and mix with drugs and that's when it turns really dangerous," said Jeffery.

He feels now that school is out and the teens have more time on their hands they are trying alcohol with friends and it's been easier than ever since there were two bootleggers who Jeffrey said would sell to anyone who had money.

It is important that parents know this is going on and can be aware that there is a problem.

"You don't want to spy on your kids but if something arouses your suspicion you might watch them a little more closely," said Jeffery.

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