On March 14th, 2015, officers from nearly 100 law enforcement agencies, to include the Azusa Police Department and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, conducted a decoy operation outside of several different licensed premises within the state of California. The goal of the operation was to test patron’s willingness to furnish alcoholic beverages to underage persons.
During this operation, there were 432 citations and arrests made throughout the state, for violations ranging from furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors to possession of illegal drugs, public drunkenness, parole violation and warrants. In the city of Azusa, Adam Smith, (39 years old) and Gabriel Lopez (37 years old) - both Azusa residents - were issued citations for furnishing alcohol to minors.
Under the direct supervision of a peace officer, a minor stood outside a liquor or convenience store and asked patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicated in some way he or she was underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agreed to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrested and cited them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service. The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.
This operation did not target any of the licensed establishments and none of the establishments knew of the decoys’ presence. This operation is one of the many operations the Azusa Police Department has recently conducted in an effort to curb problems related to underage drinking. This and other operations come as a result of a grant that was awarded to the Azusa Police Department from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Why Is This Important?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking, each year; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings (1–5).
Law enforcement, as well as parents, educators, medical professionals and the public safety sector care about the youth of our community. Taking enforcement action in these types of cases helps us protect our youth from the dangers of alcohol, which they may not recognize or know about.
Click here to visit the NIAAA website.