16 year old to be held for 10 days pending a hearing

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Justice of the Peace Jose Rodriguez ordered Thursday that a 16-year-old juvenile who was detained at Alice High School with cocaine packaged for sale be held for 10-days at a detention facility, pending another hearing.

The 16-year-old boy stood before Judge Rodriguez Thursday afternoon, shackled at the wrists and ankles.

District Attorney Joe Frank Garza told Judge Rodriguez the juvenile was caught with three individual packages of cocaine, which he allegedly intended to sell to other students at the high school.

"This case is a rather troubling one," Garza said. "Because it involves not the sale, but the intent to sell cocaine."

Garza said he intended to review the case further and may decide to attempt to try the juvenile as an adult. The juvenile will be held at a detention center until his next hearing. According to Jim Wells County Sheriff's Department reports, shortly after 9 a.m. on Sept. 25 officers with the COPS in Schools program at Alice High School received information that the juvenile was allegedly in possession of illegal drugs. The 16-year-old student was questioned by an assistant principal, and it was allegedly determined that the student did have three packages of cocaine in his possession.

Sheriff Oscar Lopez praised the Alice Independent School District and the COPS in Schools Program Friday morning for their cooperation in the incident.

"Our COPS in Schools program has been very successful, not just in Alice, but everywhere," Lopez said. "The cooperation from the school has been tremendous, from the school board, to the superintendent to the principals."