On March 16th, 2017

447 Arrested in Statewide Underage Drinking Enforcement Operation ABC and over 80 Local Law Enforcement Agencies Team Up to Increase Public Safety and Protect Youth

By: John Carr, Information Officer II
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

(Left) ABC Makes Arrest in Garden Grove (Middle) Sacramento and (Right) in Yucaipa

(California) - Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and Officers from approximately 80 local Police and Sheriff’s Departments arrested or cited 447 individuals during a statewide underage drinking enforcement operation on Saturday, March 11. The operation was designed to create awareness to the problem of underage drinking and also protect California’s youth while increasing public safety.

(Left) ABC and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department make arrest during Operation Decoy Shoulder Tap 2017 (Middle) ABC Agent David Bickel snaps a photograph of a bunny rabbit in Sacramento that was interested in evidence gathered during Shoulder Tap 2017 (Right) ABC and Bakersfield Police cite an individual for buying alcohol for minors.

In addition to raising awareness about the dangers of underage drinking, law enforcement also wanted to make it clear to any adults that buy alcohol for minors that there are serious consequences. “Unfortunately over 4,000 young people die in alcohol-related tragedies every year in this country,” said ABC Acting Director Ramona Prieto. “This collaborative effort among California peace officers creates awareness to underage drinking issues, increases public safety for communities and also boosts protections for California’s young people.”

(Left) ABC & Richmond Police Arrests Suspect (Middle) ABC Agents in Concord (Right) Night time in Berkeley

The operation resulted in citations for 366 individuals who allegedly furnished alcoholic beverages to minors. 81 other individuals were either cited or taken into custody for various crimes such as drugs, public drunkenness, open containers, minor in possession of alcohol and there was even an arrest for armed robbery. The operation was an effort to build safer and stronger communities by holding individuals accountable for illegal activity that creates harm.

(Left) ABC arrest in Inglewood (Middle) ABC & Mendota Police make arrest in Fresno County (Right) arrest in Placer County

ABC agents and local law enforcement conducted a program called the “Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation”.  Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol.  The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.  If the adults agree, and purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite 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.

ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety through licensing, education and enforcement.

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