Underage drinking party cut short

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JAMAICA — Shortly after midnight on Sunday, 55 high school students from New Jersey were caught at an underage drinking party and sober parents were called to pick them up.

"It was explained by a parent that it's a 'rite of passage,'" Vermont State Police Sgt. Ryan Wood told the Reformer. "They are currently on winter break from school. Approximately 17 kids along with their parents signed a lease agreement on a large home. No adults were present."

The teenagers were 16 to 18 years old, Ryan said, estimating that hundreds of beers and dozens of liters of liquor had been poured down the sink under the supervision of state troopers. About seven to 10 large contractor trash bags were filled with empty bottles and cans. Police also found some marijuana.

Troopers came to the scene after investigating a separate vandalism case on West Hill Road, according to a press release.

"All 55 occupants of the house were issued diversion paperwork for minors in possession of alcohol," the press release says. "Troopers were able to collect all of the alcohol and contraband from the residence and supervised the juveniles as they destroyed it in their presence."

Wood, who was the first officer on the scene, described the kids as "largely cooperative." Two other troopers and an officer from the Winhall Police Department also assisted. Their responding actions took about four to five hours, Wood said.

Anyone with information on how the teenagers obtained the alcohol is asked to contact Trooper Jason Lengfellner at the Westminster State Police Barracks at 802-722-4600.

A person who furnishes alcohol to a minor can face fines up to $2,000 and two years in prison, according to state law. An employee of a licensed liquor store can be fined no more than $100 for their first violation and no more than $500 for a second violation that happens more than a year after the first violation.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at

@CMaysBR on Twitter

and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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