Shops sell alcohol to kids

By Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat March 12, 2013 09:46 am

Nine people were cited on suspicion of selling alcohol to minors during a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office operation on Saturday.

Six minors attempted to buy alcohol from 47 businesses in the county that are licensed by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Clerks who sold alcohol to the decoys were given criminal citations and reported to the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Oliver said.

The clerks either didn’t ask the decoys for identification or didn’t read the IDs closely, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Selling alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor.

A first-time sale of alcohol to a minor by an ABC licensed business may result in a fine or license suspension for the business. A second sale within a three-year period is an automatic license suspension. A third sale within a three-year period can result in license revocation.

The Sheriff’s Office occasionally conducts minor decoy programs but last weekend’s sting was orchestrated by a local high school student for a mandatory senior project.

The student, whose name and school are not being released, contacted Sheriff Jim Mele several months ago to ask for his approval in organizing the program.