Reporting Andrea Menniti
SONORA (CBS13) — A Sonora man was arrested on child endangerment and drug charges after officers found drugs and alcohol within reach of his children in a residence littered with trash and with areas of pooled raw sewage, police said.
Officers from the Sonora Police Department and a worker from the Tuolumne County Department of Child Welfare Services went to the residence on the 300 block of Hospital Road on Thursday at 1:54 p.m.
Officers quickly found a mirror that had a large amount of white crystal substance on it that tested positive for methamphetamine, police said. Packaged meth and open containers of alcohol were also located within reach of the children, police said.
Police say the children’s father, Juan Velazquez Herrera, 29, admitted the meth was his. He was arrested for felony child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. The mother’s involvement in the home is still under investigation.
Two pit bulls barked aggressively at the front fence when CBS13 went to the house on Friday, but nobody inside would comment other than to yell to leave the property.
As investigators continued to search the residence, they noted the backyard and basement contained a large amount of trash and areas of raw sewage. There were also bags of rotting trash under the house, in the kitchen, in the laundry room. Spoiled food was left out on the kitchen table and counters and the floors were dirty and littered with dirty clothing, police said.
Child Welfare Services took custody of the two children, an 8-year-old girl and a 4-month-old girl. Herrera was into the Tuolumne County Jail.
“It’s horrible,” neighbor Karen Leiberman said. “I would have called CPS myself if I knew what was going on in there.”
Another neighbor said her house has been infested with rats and now wonders if Herrera’s home is to blame.
“I would have never thought in my mind that something like that would be going on down there,” neighbor David Gomez said.