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Store Clerks In Calaveras County Accused Of Selling Alcohol to Minors

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Calaveras County, CA – Two Calaveras County store clerks were cited for selling alcohol to minors, and now the businesses could lose their liquor licenses.

It was an undercover investigation carried out earlier this month by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and agents of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

“Conducting these operations allows us to help reduce underage drinking and increase public safety,” stated Sheriff Rick DiBasilio.

The operation was carried out using “minor decoys,” or underage subjects, who tried to purchase alcohol from ten stores in Valley Springs, Mokelumne Hill, and San Andreas.

Two clerks were cited for selling alcohol to minors during the sting. Sheriff’s officials noted that they could face “a minimum fine of $250 and 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.” They added, “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.”

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

“Businesses should always check IDs before selling alcohol,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough. “Preventing access for people not old enough to legally purchase alcohol improves safety on our roadways and in our communities.”

When the minor decoy program first began in the 1980s, the violation rate of retailers selling to minors was around 40 to 50 percent,” according to ABC. They relayed that the rate dropped to below 10 percent in some cities when operations were conducted on a routine basis. The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1994 that the use of minor decoys is a valid legal tool of law enforcement to make sure that licensees are complying with the law. This program is funded by a grant from ABC through the department’s Alcohol Policing Partnership (APP) program.