37 people arrested for alcohol-related offenses at Mid-State Fair
Undercover minor sent to fair by sheriff, alcoholic beverage control
–The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Alcohol Compliance Team in cooperation with Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, conducted alcohol compliance operations at the California Mid-State Fair throughout the fair’s duration in Paso Robles beginning July 20 and concluding on July 31.
The undercover enforcement activity utilized one underage decoy to regulate illegal sales of alcohol products by vendors to minors and resulted in one retail licensee selling to an underage decoy. Additionally, thirty-one arrests occurred for minors in possession of alcohol, four arrests of individuals furnishing alcohol to minors, and three arrests for minors in possession of false identification for purposes of acquiring alcoholic beverages. In all, a total of 37 persons were arrested/cited by ACT officers for alcohol related violations at the Mid-State Fair.
The compliance checks focused specifically on the Mid-State Fair utilizing funding provided by a grant from ABC through its grant assistance program. ABC is sponsoring compliance checks statewide 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, according to the sheriff’s office. Minor decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. 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 jurisdictions to 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.
The vendor that engaged in the illegal sale of an alcoholic beverage to a minor was licensee Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ within the California Mid-State Fairgrounds, located at 2198 Riverside Avenue in Paso Robles. Licensee servers with alcohol sales violations are issued a notice to appear and criminally prosecuted through the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
The sheriff’s office report of enforcement action taken against the alcohol vender will be forwarded to ABC for consideration of administrative action against the licensee. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office’s Alcohol Compliance Team in coordination with ABC will continue grant funded countywide enforcement operations during the 2016/17 fiscal year. Ongoing efforts will include underage decoy operations, shoulder tap purchase attempts, and informational retailer training to enhance Alcoholic Beverage Control Act compliance through cooperative interaction between law enforcement and licensees.