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By Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer 

Fallbrook passes alcohol test


Last updated 12/22/2018 at 7:04am

Local liquor stores and community members passed a surprise test Dec. 14 when the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted operation "Shoulder Tap" in Fallbrook.

Deputies and two minor (under age 21) decoys executed Shoulder Tap, an operation in which a minor attempts to purchase alcohol at a liquor store or asks an adult to purchase alcohol on their behalf.

The operation was conducted between 5 and 11 p.m. and the decoys attempted to purchase alcohol at five Fallbrook liquor stores, according to Sgt. Nancy Blanco. They were denied at all five locations.

The teenage decoys – working in front of three liquor stores – asked 20 adults to purchase alcohol for them and only one obliged. The 28-year-old man that bought the alcohol for the decoy was arrested for furnishing alcohol to a minor, which is a misdemeanor offense.

Two men (ages 24 and 25) who were with the individual that purchased the alcohol were arrested for probation and parole violations, according to Blanco.

Funding for Shoulder Tap, an operation that is conducted in communities throughout San Diego County, is provided through a $100,000 grant that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department received from the ABC in July.

"From this operation it looks like Fallbrook, both the public and the stores, are doing a good job out there," Jennifer Hill, supervising agent in charge with the ABC in the San Marcos district, said. "A 100 percent compliance rate for the stores is fantastic, and one out of 20 – although we'd love to see it zero – is a good ratio."

Hill said the liquor stores that were tested will be receiving a letter from the Sheriff's Department stating that they were successful in not selling to a decoy.

Hill said the ABC's standard penalties for the owner of a liquor store that gets caught selling alcohol to a minor are as follows: a 15-day license suspension for a first offense, a 25-day suspension for a second violation within three years, and a move forward for license revocation for a third violation within three years.

People caught furnishing alcohol to a minor are issued a criminal misdemeanor citation. The penalty could be a fine up to $1,500 or community service or both, according to Hill.

Hill said the ABC has been employing operation Shoulder Tap for many years.

"We do utilize this tool as one of our operations that we do fairly consistently throughout the state because it is such a good tool for preventing youth access to alcohol, which is one of our missions with the department," Hill said.


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