Dawn Upchurch, a 33-year-old mother of 3- and 10-year-old children, and Gustavo Barraza, 25, have been charged with two counts each of negligent child abuse following a March 28 welfare check of their home in Las Cruces, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported today on its Web site.
The officer who was checking on a report that Upchurch was using drugs, said that when Barraza opened the door, he smelled marijuana and noticed a small baggie of pot sticking out of Barraza's pocket, the Sun-News said.
A subsequent search turned up more marijuana throughout the house — on a counter, near the television, in the bedroom, even a whole brick of pot found in a closet along with a scale and plastic baggies, according to a police report.
Crack cocaine paraphernalia also was found in the closet and more pot was found on Barraza's person, the Sun-News cited the police report.
But police said they found no food in the house for the children to eat, the Sun-News said.
The children were taken into protective custody, and results of drug tests administered to the children showed that the 3-year-old girl tested positive for cocaine, the paper said.
Barraza allegedly told police he had allowed a friend to cook drugs inside the house, according to the Sun-News report.
Both Upchurch and Barraza have pleaded not guilty to the charges, and each remains jailed at the Dona Ana County Detention Center on a $20,000 bond, the paper said.
This is the second time in a month that a toddler has tested positive for cocaine because of their parents' alleged drug use, the Sun-News reported.