"It's not just furnishing alcohol to minors that we find during these decoy shoulder tap operations, we make arrests for illegal drug possession, DUIs, parole violations and outstanding warrants." - Kevin Highbaugh, CABCA president & ABC agent
AUBURN - When California Alcoholic Beverage Control Agents (CABCA) President Kevin Highbaugh set out with fellow ABC Agent Dustin McLaughlin and officers from the Auburn Police Department on March 12, 2016 to find and cite people willing to purchase alcohol for minors, it was his hope they would come up empty.
"A great day would be a hundred percent compliance," said Highbaugh. "Is that realistic? Probably not. I'd prefer if everybody just said no and we went home with a bunch of people that were compliant. But realistically, it's not going to happen. Somebody is going to say yes and buy alcohol for one of these minors."
ABC agents and Auburn police used three decoys, all under the age of 21, to ask patrons outside of convenience or liquor stores to buy them alcohol. Statewide, ABC agents teamed up with approximately 80 local law enforcement departments to do the same thing. It's an annual statewide shoulder tap operation that takes place the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day.
"We widely publicize this event every year," said Highbaugh. "And still, there are people who see nothing wrong with furnishing booze to kids under 21. I don't get why they don't see the possible consequences of their actions. We certainly see those consequences in DUIs, accidents, assaults, sex assaults, liquor in our schools."
The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
"Do everyone a favor, and just say no," said Highbaugh. "Supplying kids with beer or other alcoholic beverages is just not a good idea. And it's against the law."