Tulare County Sheriff's Office cracks down on underage drinking

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County Sheriff's department's minor decoy operation boasted eight citations, after 26 stores in the southern part of Tulare County were targeted for selling alcohol to minors.

Lieutenant Gabriel Macias says the operation, in connection with Alcohol Beverage Control, sends members of their Explorer Program to buy alcohol from store clerks.

They target these areas based on tips and surveillance done prior to operations. First-time offenders face a $250 citation and 24-32 hours of community service.

That doesn't include the administrative action ABC can take, including suspending or revoking a liquor license. Macias says the idea of the program is more than enforcement, it's education.

The co-owner of the Best Truck Stop in Pixley did not want to talk on camera but says the employee that sold to minors will be attending a class offered by the Tulare County Sheriff's Office in May.

The enforcement is made possible by a $25,000 grant funded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration last year.

Since the decoy operations started in November, they've reached more than 100 stores and issued 27 citations.
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