South Lake Tahoe PD, Alcoholic Beverage Control cites clerks for selling alcohol to minors

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The South Lake Tahoe Police Department, along with agents of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have cited five clerks for selling alcohol to minors on Friday, Nov. 10. The actions were the result of a Minor Decoy operation which included minors under the direct supervision of department agents that attempted to purchase alcohol from 14 retail licensees in South Lake Tahoe.

The clerks who sold to a minor face a minimum fine of $250 and 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC may take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor. That may include a fine, suspension, or the permanent revocation of the license.

Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a much higher risk of being involved in a crash than older drivers. About 25 percent of fatal crashes involve underage drinking according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped to below 10 percent in some cities. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of minor decoys is a valid legal tool of law enforcement to make sure that licensees are complying with the law. 

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from ABC through the department’s Alcohol Policing Partnership (APP) program.

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