There was so much booze being consumed at a college fraternity party, Montgomery County Police say the air inside of the building tested positive for alcohol.
The scene – a modest split-level red brick home along the 5500 block of Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda. The date – a Tuesday night in mid-November. The sales pitch – an event marketed on Facebook as “Tequila Tuesday Hoy a las 22:00.” The guest list – around 70 people, predominantly American University students.
Sometime during the evening, aggravated residents called police to report the party jams thumping their way through the family-centric neighborhood of upper-class homes. A trio of dispatched patrol officers pulled up to the home and knocked on the front door. Partygoers peered through windows, but walked away. Moments later, a few of the hosts answered the door and allowed officers inside.
According to court documents, police observed windows covered with insulation and trash bags, beer cans and liquor bottles littered throughout the house and a noticeably sticky basement floor, coated with spilled alcohol. Eight individuals locked themselves in a bathroom, while another person jumped out of a second story window in an effort to avoid being cited by police. The ambient air inside of the home registered a .01 on at least one police department-issued breathalyzer, court documents state.
Officers set up a number of stations outside of the home, breathalyzing partygoers, 17, 18, 19 and 20 years old, as they left the home. A number of students reportedly vowed to never attend a frat party again.
Meanwhile, police spoke with the six people who allegedly confessed to living at the house: Jeffrey Becker, Ashton Acosta, Anthony Santana, Kevin Alkinburg, Matthew Berger and Tristan Ralph, all 20 years old. All six have since been charged with 126 counts each of allowing underage possession of alcohol and furnishing alcohol to a minor. The defendants reportedly refused to tell police how they obtained enough alcohol to fuel a party of such size.
According to investigators, all six tenants are members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s AU Chapter, which labels itself online as “the true gentlemen.” Police further explain that Alkinburg, Berger and Ralph hold positions on the frat’s 2017 executive board.
An email and phone call to a spokesperson at Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, went unreturned Tuesday.
American University confirms Becker, Acosta, Santana, Alkinburg, Berger and Ralph are all enrolled at the private university. According AU’s publicly accessible fraternity and sorority life conduct status, SAE has been cited with three violations this school year. While the fraternity still has a “good/active” standing with AU, it has four active sanctions: disciplinary probation, social probation, risk management plan and notification to headquarter office.
Becker, Acosta, Santana, Alkinburg, Berger and Ralph each face up to $315,000 in fines pertaining to their stack criminal charges. A sentence of that magnitude, however, is extremely unlikely.