by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND COUNTY--The State Attorney General's Office is sending out a message to dead beat parents, either pay now or pay later.
NewsWest 9 cameras were on hand this weekend during an early morning warrant roundup.
The Midland County Sheriff's Department has been working closely with the Attorney General's Office for several weeks, compiling lists of people, who for some reason or another, aren't paying their child support.
The day started early, around 3:00 a.m., for the more than 30 agents who literally went door to door on Sunday, tracking down those people, who are now wanted for not supporting their kids.
According to Charles Smith, Deputy Director of the Attorney General's Child Support Division, "The work that was done by the task force is going to do just that, it's going to send a clear message to those non-custodial parents, who are not adhering to the court's order to pay child support, to let them know that it's a serious situation and we expect them to live up to their responsibilities of supporting their children."
NewsWest 9 followed a team of agents around Midland. The first few address didn't prove so successful, either it was the wrong address or there was no one home.
"That's the name of the game. You just go with it and keep looking," Sgt. Curtis Becker, with the Midland Sheriff's office, said.
But finally, pay dirt. One man was cuffed and taken into custody for violation of probation, for not paying child support.
"One of the things that you have to take a chance on is, sometimes they're going to be there and sometimes they're not. Some of these people are evaders. They're intentionally evading either the child support side or the criminal side. We'll catch up to them," Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter, said.
The Midland County Sheriff's department and the Attorney General's Office have vowed to keep working together to bring in as many dead beat parents as possible.
"For those 18 arrests that occurred, those individuals know, without a doubt, that their child support obligation is something they cannot shirk and run away from," Smith said.
For the 186 who got lucky and weren't picked up, Sheriff Painter says, there is still a chance to make things right voluntarily, "They can come in and take care of it, relieve the pressure or they can be arrested in front of everybody and that's what we're going to do."
Sheriff's officials say they won't stop until they've caught everyone. They've given us a list of the people they're still looking for. You can see that list for yourself on our web site, just click the news links button above to find the list.