When California Alcoholic Beverage Control Agents Scott Stonebrook and Souk Thao witnessed a young, front-seat passenger in a car with an open container of beer in Cathedral City, the two crime fighters took action. The investigation that followed lead to the arrest of two criminals who had warrants out for their arrests.
"It is always amazing how the investigation of a simple crime can lead to getting a felon off the streets," said ABC Agent and Vice President of the California Association of State Investigators (CADI) Steve Combre.
On Friday, September 13 at 11:15 p.m., the agents approached the vehicle after it left an Arco AM PM and stopped in front of a home minutes later. The front-seat passenger, Eric Enriquez, 21, was not only in possession of the open container, during a consent search, he was found in possession of drug paraphernalia, a 1/4 of a Xanax bar and traces of suspected heroin. Already on formal probation for burglary, Enriquez also had a $50,000 felony warrant for burglary. He was taken to jail for the warrant and a new charge relating to the drugs agents found in his possession.
The driver of the car, Kyle Demiraiakian, 21, admitted to and was in possession of a glass pipe with residue. There were also six hypodermic needles in the car. Agents also discovered Demiraiakian's driver’s license was suspended last October for Driving Under the Influence of drugs. He is on summary probation for DUI/Drugs and formal probation for possession of a controlled substance. ABC agents cited and released Demiraiakian for driving without a license, drug paraphernalia and no proof of auto insurance. His Mitsubishi was towed and stored for 30 days.
The two ABC agents did not stop there. They checked the identity of a second passenger in the car, Max Woody, 23, and discovered Woody was on formal probation for receiving stolen property and had two warrants for his arrest, a $25,000 felony warrant for receiving stolen property and a $5,000 misdemeanor warrant for under the influence. Woody also earned a trip to jail.
"Three men in their early twenties, all on felony probation with a history of drug use and two of them with a history of stealing or having stolen items. Those are suspects you want off the street," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA's membership includes ABC agents as well as nearly 7,000 other law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California. "In my view, taking those young men to jail may very well have prevented them from hurting someone while driving out on the road or stealing to support a habit. That's what our ABC agents do. They help to keep us safe from harm."