SORRENTO — Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies broke up a party in Sorrento this weekend and 75 teens were cited or arrested with underage drinking, the Sheriff’s Office said Monday.
The teens, who ranged in age from 15 to 18 and whom deputies refused to identify Monday, were partying Saturday at a home at 6154 Dolly’s Lane, Sorrento, while the owners were out-of-town, deputies said.
Sheriff’s Maj. Ward Webb said Monday that when deputies arrived, they spotted about 40 vehicles parked outside the home with empty beer cans on the ground. As the deputies began to raid the party, they saw teenagers running into the woods.
A large amount of alcoholic beverages were found in the garage and in the home, Webb said.
Deputies said they are still investigating how the teens obtained the alcohol.
The Sheriff’s Office said it made the arrests and issued citations under a new parish ordinance adopted in May aimed at parents who allow large underage drinking parties.
Deputies issued summons to eight 18-year-olds on counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Deputies also issued summons to 28 17-year-olds on counts of possession of alcohol by a person younger than 18.
Thirty-nine juveniles were arrested and booked with counts of possession of alcohol by a person younger than 18.
The juveniles were released to their parents or guardians, deputies said.
Sheriff’s deputies learned of the Sorrento party after a call from a parent. The parent’s 15-year-old daughter had been at the party and called her parents to pick her up because of the nature of the gathering and widespread, underage alcoholic consumption, deputies said.
The law is possibly the first of its kind in Louisiana and one that raised questions at the time of its adoption about its conformity with state law.
In Louisiana, the legal age to buy and consume alcoholic beverages in a bar or other public place without a parent, spouse or legal guardian present is 21.
T he law also provides an exception for underage possession or consumption in a private home.
The new parish ordinance generally prevents minors from being in possession of alcohol on private property unless they are in the presence of a legal guardian, parent, grandparent or “someone over 30 years of age with whom the underage person has established a significant relationship by blood, adoption or infirmity,” deputies have said.