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1:10pm — Las Cruces Toddler Tests Positive for Cocaine

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police find drugs in the home, but no food for two children, ages 3 and 10.


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.


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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.