14 cited for underage drinking at Graham bonfire bust

A tip led officers to a Graham bonfire deep in the woods Saturday, where they said they found underage drinking, and handgun, and drunken driving.

The youths, ages 17 to 20, were in the woods near the La Paloma Firs neighborhood, according to the Pierce County Party Intervention Patrol. Multiple agencies are part of the group.

When officers arrived about 11 p.m., they said some of the youths tried to leave in 4x4s, and two were arrested. Those drivers’ blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit for adults of .08. One had a handgun, which was confiscated by troopers.

A 17-year-old was treated for injuries suffered in a fight earlier in the night.

In all, 14 young adults were cited for underage drinking.

One told officers that several parties had been held before at the site. Authorities are speaking with the property owner to prevent future illegal drinking there.

A week earlier, June 7, the team busted a party in the Gem Heights neighborhood of South Hill, after checking out a noise complaint and reports of a large youth party.

They saw parents picking up their kids as they approached. Two youths were found outside the home, one of whom was passed out. That boy was arrested later and got an intervention from a chemical dependency counselor.

The other was caught after he hopped a fence and tried to run from police (his brother was arrested by the team at an illegal graduation party last year, they said).

Officers told the homeowner that it’s illegal to provide minors with alcohol, or to let them drink on the property. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover illegal alcohol-related death and injury, they said.