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Alcohol operation nets local, state arrests

POSTED March 19, 2013 10:09 p.m.

A statewide sting operation conducted by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control resulted in the arrests of 506 people, including 32 in Stanislaus County.

The shoulder tap operation was carried out Friday and utilized law enforcement from throughout the state. The high number of arrests shattered the previous year’s total of 435 arrests.

ABC agents and local law enforcement conducted a program called a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation which can lead to the arrest of adults who purchase alcohol for people under 21 years old. Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.

If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

During Friday’s operation, more than 400 individuals were cited for furnishing alcohol to minors and at least 50 were arrested for other crimes, including drug and weapon charges and felony warrants.

In Stanislaus County there were 32 people arrested in the sting. Of those, 28 were for furnishing alcohol to a minor and five were for drug and weapon offenses and one for a felony warrant.

The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.

Many local operations were funded by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control through the department’s Grant Assistance Program and some were funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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