Las Cruces moms arrested after children test positive for meth, living in unfit conditions

Two Las Cruces mothers are facing child abuse charges after their children tested positive for meth.

Two Las Cruces mothers were charged with several counts of child abuse after three children tested positive for methamphetamine.

Eliana Gonzalez and Ophelia Montano, both 30 years old, were charged with multiple counts of child abuse.

Officers with the Las Cruces Police Department were called to investigate a home on McFie Avenue on reports of unfit living conditions, according to court documents.

Officers said when they arrived, they found dog feces and trash scattered throughout the home.

Gonzalez’s six children and Montano’s five children were living in the house, court documents said.

The home did not have running water, electricity or gas, and there was not enough food in the pantry for all of the children to eat.

According to court documents, both women admitted to using drugs. Montano consented to a drug test and tested positive for heroin and meth. Gonzalez told police she has been smoking meth on and off since she was 12 years old.

One of the children living in the home told investigators about an instance when Gonzalez was smoking in one of the rooms in the home. The child entered the smoke-filled room and saw drug paraphernalia. Three men and five women were also in the room, court documents say.

The landlord did not want to be identified but spoke to KFOX14 and said the living environment inside the house was extremely unsafe for the children.

“They ended up stealing the washer and dryer and tearing up the whole house. It was a dump in there. I ended up taking all kinds of stuff out of there. All kinds of paraphernalia, which detectives came and took pictures of,” he said.

According to court documents, some of the children had to fill up water jugs at MacArthur Elementary School because they needed drinking water and water to flush the toilet.

Las Cruces Public school issued the following statement:

The children of these two women are not students at MacArthur Elementary. However, they are in other schools and are attending classes. For the children's protection, LCPS will not disclose their schools.
If the children were, in fact, forced to take water from MacArthur, no one ever witnessed that happening. If anyone had seen that, school personnel would intervene immediately.
New Mexico law requires that any school employee — teacher, counselor, principal, nurse, etc. — who suspects any type of abuse must contact law enforcement or CYFD. LCPS has many services to help children in need, primarily through the Homeless Education program called Project Link. Children receive assistance with clothing, food, transportation, and other social services.

Ophelia’s sister, Valerie Montano defended her sister, saying the children were never in danger.

"No. that's why she left. Because yeah, she did have a problem. Not that she did it around the home, like she would go out and do it,” Valerie said. "We had pails of water and propane burners, so we were cooking when the cops and CPS came actually. They left the dog here. So when the detective came a week later, he took pictures of dog feces on the floor. Well yeah! The dog was in here alone for a week. But he didn't live that way.”

Valerie said the children were happy.

"Yes. Regardless of where or how they've been, yes they love their mom. As long as they are with mom, they are happy,” Valerie said. "She would be here sometimes, but when she was using, she was out of the house. She barely makes enough to take care of her kids. So she can't pay to get this help. So she was going to go and stay in a home somewhere else and kick it, and then come back for her kids."

The children are currently under the care of family members.

Last week, an elementary teacher with Las Cruces Public Schools and her boyfriend were arrested after her son tested positive for meth.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off