OXNARD, Calif. - The Oxnard Police Department cited five store clerks on Friday after they sold alcohol to minors during an undercover operation.
Police said the actions were the result of a Minor Decoy operation in which minors, under the direct supervision of police officers, attempted to purchase alcohol from 15 retail licensees in the City of Oxnard.
Any clerks who sold alcohol to the minor faced a minimum fine of $250 and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.
In addition, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business in question. This can include a fine, suspension of the license or permanent revocation of the license.
The Oxnard stores where alcohol was sold to the decoy minor include: 7-Eleven 1955 S. Patterson Road, Doc's Beer and Wine at 521 S. C Street, La Colonial Market at 520 E. Third Street, La Mexicana Market at 601 S. A Street and Raul's Liquor at 942 E. Fifth Street.
These compliance checks are being conducted statewide to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.
According to the police department, statistics show that people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.
Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s.
When the program first began, police said retail establishments sold alcohol to the decoy minors at a rate of 40 to 50%. When the operation was conducted on a routine basis, the rate of violations dropped to 10% or lower.
In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the use of underage decoys is a valid tool for law enforcement to ensure that stores are complying with the law.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control through the department's Grant Assistance Program.