Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and Menlo Park Police officers on Friday cited five clerks and servers in Menlo Park for selling alcohol to minors.
The authors set up a minor "decoy" operation in which people under the age of 21 attempt to purchase alcohol under the direct supervision of department agents. Twelve retail licensees in Menlo Park were targeted, though the authorities did not release the names of the businesses.
Those who got caught selling booze to minors will face a minimum fine of $250 and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for their first violation. The ABC will, however, take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the businesses, which could include a fine, suspension or permanent revocation of the licenses to sell alcohol.
ABC says that the agency is conducting decoy operations all over the state, and that statistics show that people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities that the general adult population.
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When minor decoy operations were first set up in the 1980s, authorities estimated that the rate of retail establishments selling to underage drinkers was at 40 to 50%, according to the ABC. Now, when conducted on a routine basis, that number has fallen to 10% or lower.