Glenwood mom arrested after newborn tests positive for meth
A woman arrested on suspicion of using methamphetamine early in her pregnancy faces new charges after giving birth to a baby with the drug in its system, authorities say.Tishe Marie Quintana, 26, of Glenwood Springs apparently used meth in the week before the Oct. 4 delivery of a baby girl, a Glenwood Springs police arrest affidavit states. The baby, Justice Areala Burkholder, tested positive for the drug but appeared to be doing well and showing no symptoms of withdrawal, Glenwood police detective Amy Roggie said in the affidavit.While meth use by mothers can result in low birth weights, Justice weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces at birth.However, “Some of the injuries, ailments and conditions that this child may experience due to the exposure and use of methamphetamine are unknown and may remain unknown for years to come,” wrote Roggie, who formerly was assigned to the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, or Trident.Quintana has been charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, unlawful use of a controlled substance, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor by causing her baby to use a controlled substance. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney called the latter “sort of a unique charge” for the circumstances.In September, Quintana had pleaded guilty in connection with her earlier arrest and prosecutors were recommending a deferred sentence. However, Cheney said the agreement was contingent on her not getting in criminal trouble before her sentencing, which was scheduled for November.”She obviously violated that condition,” he said.Quintana is free on $15,000 bond on the latest charges. She is due back in court on those charges Nov. 16.Police say she has a lengthy history of criminal charges that include several drug-related counts, child abuse, child cruelty, driving under the influence, driving while ability impaired, failure to appear, and check fraud.On March 3, she was arrested at a residence in Rifle for meth possession, use and possession with intent to distribute, child abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia. Two of Quintana’s other children were present in the residence when meth was found there, police say.Quintana was divorced from the father of those children, according to court records. Travis Burkholder, the father of Justice Burkholder, was arrested March 2 in Grand Junction for distribution of methamphetamine.The two older children are now in the care of their father, who had previously sought full custody before settling for joint custody. Garfield County Social Services took custody of Justice Burkholder upon her birth and her mother’s arrest.Quintana pleaded guilty in September to possession with intent to distribute, which is a felony; and misdemeanor child abuse. Those charges normally carry respective sentences ranging from four to 12 years, and three to 12 months.Cheney said prosecutors agreed to recommend a deferred sentence because Quintana had been clean of drugs and “appeared to be getting it together.”Now, he said, ” … I think it’s safe to say that prison is on the table for her.”Social Services began investigating Quintana after an anonymous tip. Quintana was admitted to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs Oct. 3 to give birth and tested positive for meth, police say.A physician concurred that the infant may have suffered seriously bodily injury in the case.Roggie writes that meth use by expecting mothers can cause spontaneous abortions and premature deliveries. Meth constricts blood flow through the placenta, and can cause elevated fetal blood pressure, fetal strokes, damage to the heart and other organs, nervous system and intestinal problems, and malformed extremities, research indicates.One study found that 4 percent of babies born with meth in their system need withdrawal treatment, Roggie wrote in her affidavit. Some can be sleepy for weeks, to the point of not waking to feed. They also can be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, viral hepatitis and HIV.”After this time, the infants behave more like a cocaine-exposed infant and are often jittery, irritable and have a shrill cry,” she wrote.Roggie said in her affidavit that the health of babies is thought to improve if meth use stops within the last one to three months of pregnancy. However, she believes Quintana used the drug within six days before giving birth.”By those actions, she unreasonably put her unborn child’s life and health at risk,” Roggie wrote.Before Quintana’s latest arrest, the mother of her ex-husband had called for prison time rather than a deferred sentence in connection with the earlier drug charges. The woman wrote to District Court Judge Denise Lynch that Quintana blames the world for her problems, is in denial, thinks only of herself and won’t take responsibility for her actions.She said she wasn’t calling for tougher punishment out of spite, but out of love and concern for the mother of her grandchildren.”She has changed so much in the last three years that I do not even know her,” the woman wrote.Cheney said he has seen few cases of arrests of mothers for delivering babies with meth in their system.”I think it is methamphetamine raising its head. It’s a sign and a symptom that we do have a problem with methamphetamine. We are aware of it, law enforcement is aware of it,” he said.He said the District Attorney’s Office is planning a task force to address the meth problem in the 9th Judicial District. It will be modeled on a similar task force in Mesa County, and harness the efforts of “all the key players” locally to target meth use and distribution, and focus on prosecution, treatment and prevention, he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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