Seven workers at retailers in North Fair Oaks and San Carlos were cited for selling alcohol to minors during a law enforcement operation last week.
From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies and agents with the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) conducted a decoy operation in which minors, under the direct supervision of the deputies, attempted to purchase alcohol from 21 retail licensees in the North Fair Oaks area and San Carlos.
In a statement, the sheriff’s office did not name the retailers where citations occurred.
“Those who sold to the minor potentially face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first-time violation,” the sheriff’s office said. “In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor. That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.”
The sheriff’s office points out that using underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement, per a 1994 California Supreme Court ruling.
“When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent,” the sheriff’s office said. “When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below.”