Maryland man arrested for violating ban on gatherings with party in motel room

A Maryland man is charged with violating a state order barring gatherings of more than 10 people at once in an urgent bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Baltimore County resident Ryan Serra, 26, is charged with violating Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order after state troopers said he hosted a party in a Westminster motel room with at least ten other people, some of whom were drinking underage.

Maryland State Police received a call reporting a party being held in a room at The Boston Inn, off Baltimore Boulevard, around 7 p.m. Sunday. Serra answered the door after multiple knocks, and a number of young men and women between the ages of 15 and 17 emerged from the bathroom where they were attempting to hide.

Troopers determined Serra bought alcohol for the teens attending the party despite being aware they were below the legal age limit. He faces ten additional counts of allowing a minor to possess alcohol. A news release describing the incident noted no one in the room appeared to be intoxicated.

Serra was charged on a criminal summons, served at his Lutherville home on Monday afternoon. Charges were not filed against the teens who attended the party.

The incident occurred Sunday, before Hogan’s more stern stay-at-home order, which took effect throughout the state at 8 p.m. Monday. A moratorium on gatherings of over 10 people was already in place, violations of which could carry up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $5,000.

A Charles County man was arrested on March 27 after allegedly refusing multiple times to disperse a group of about 60 people he had gathered for a bonfire in Hughesville.

As of Monday evening, the state was reporting over 1,400 confirmed cases — the highest in the D.C. region — and had imposed its strictest guidelines yet on limiting social contact to reduce infection rates, ensure hospital capacity and safeguard vulnerable populations.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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