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Deputies cite clerks for selling alcohol to minors
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STOCKTON - The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office cited three clerks for selling alcohol to minors on April 29.

 The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors, under the direct supervision of deputies, attempted to purchase alcohol from 10 retail licensees in the County of San Joaquin. In addition, 1 subject, found loitering in front of a store, was arrested for possession of a dangerous fireworks and possession of a controlled substance.

All the stores cited are in the Stockton area, said Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Les Garcia.

Those who sold to the minor face a misdemeanor violation of furnishing alcohol to a minor and, in addition, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business. That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the compliance checks to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.

Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s. 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 in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.

This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy / Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.