Three north county businesses caught selling alcohol to minors
Undercover alcohol enforcement yields three arrests
–The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Alcohol Compliance Team (ACT) conducted alcohol compliance operations In the Northern area of San Luis Obispo County on Friday, Feb. 10. The undercover enforcement activity utilized an underage decoy to regulate illegal sales of alcohol products by businesses to minors and resulted in three retail licensees selling to the underage decoy. Compliance operations tested ten retailers in the San Miguel, rural Paso Robles, Templeton, and Santa Margarita areas.
The Alcohol Compliance Team’s enforcement focused specifically on retail licensees utilizing funding provided by a grant from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control 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.
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 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. With three of ten businesses completing sales to the decoys during this operation, the illegal sales rate of 30-percent was established.
The three licensees that engaged in the illegal sale of an alcoholic beverage to a minor were:
1) Templeton Spirits, 575 Main Street, Templeton
2) Templeton Market & Deli, 390 Main Street, Templeton
3) San Paso Truck Stop, 81 Wellsona Road, rural Paso Robles
Licensee retail clerks with alcohol sales violations are issued a Notice to Appear and criminally prosecuted through the District Attorney’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office report of enforcement action taken against the licensee will be forwarded to ABC for consideration of administrative action against the business.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office’s Alcohol Compliance Team (ACT) in coordination with ABC will continue grant funded countywide enforcement operations through June 30, 2017. Ongoing efforts will include underage decoy operations, shoulder tap purchase attempts, false identification detection operations, and retailer training. Members of the public with questions regarding the sheriff’s office’s alcohol compliance education and enforcement are encouraged to call (805) 781-4529.