LAS CRUCES, NM - Ophelia Montano and Eliana Gonzalez are charged with multiple counts of child abuse after New Mexico Children Youth and Family Department (CYFD) was called to investigate possible neglect and discovered three children who ultimately tested positive for methamphetamine.
According to court documents, there were 12 children living in a rental property in Las Cruces along with Montano and Gonzalez when this happened. Five of the children belonged to Montano, six belonged to Gonzalez and one did not belong to either.
"We didn't know whose kids were whose, there were three different families living here," said the property's landlord, who did not want to be named.
The landlord says Montano allegedly forged a rental lease agreement for his property. "It was supposed to be three kids and two adults," said the landlord. "She ended up moving a bunch of people in, which they had cut the locks and tampered with the gas lines."
Court documents say the electricity being used at the rental property was illegally obtained and the home did not have running water or gas. The documents also show the two oldest children were illegally filling up water jugs at MacArthur Elementary.
"This place was trashed and I took two trash trailers full of stuff. I mean, they did stuff you wouldn't believe," said the landlord.
Documents further state that in addition to the trash the apartment was covered in dog feces, but Montano's sister disputes that.
"They left the dog here, so they took the kids out and of course a week later when a detective comes to take pictures then it's there," said Montano's sister Valerie Montano. " I know she is an awesome mom, this I know. Eliana is one too and my sister, everything is about these kids of hers. They say my sister left to do drugs, but she went to go get clean, CPS has known she has this problem and she is trying to fix it."
Montano says her sister's two oldest children are with their dad and the rest of the children are with family while Gonzalez's kids are in El Paso.