Lake Elsinore Station ABC Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap Operations

Date:

Reporting Deputy: Sergeant Carlos GarciaVilla

File # CN240200006, WI240200023, WI240200024, WI240200025, WI240200026

Details:

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, agents of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), along with Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, cited one clerk for selling alcohol to minors in the city of Canyon Lake at a business within the 24000 block of Canyon Lake Drive. The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors under the direct supervision of department agents attempted to purchase alcohol from four retail licensees in Riverside County.

Those who sold to the minor face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. 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.

Additionally, deputies conducted a minor decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. The minors, at a retail store licensee, attempted to have several adults furnish them with alcohol. The operation resulted in four suspects being arrested and citations issued for furnishing alcohol to a minor in the city of Wildomar. A decoy shoulder tap operation targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

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 hold accountable those who sell alcohol to minors,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough. “Keeping alcohol away from youth is a priority.”

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 cities 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.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is an agency of the government of the state of California charged with the regulation of alcoholic beverages. ABC encourages licensees to sign up for ABC’s Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) training free of charge. Licensees and their employees can now take the training online. They can also sign up for training in person in a classroom setting.

For media inquiries regarding this incident please contact the Media Information Bureau.

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