Decoy Operation Catches 3 Chico Businesses Selling Alcohol to Minor

Park Avenue 76

On 07/25/2011, members of the Chico Police Department’s TARGET team conducted a Minor Decoy operation at 11 off-sale alcohol licensees in the Chico area.

The Minor Decoy Operation involves minors who work under the direct supervision of officers. On 7/25/2011 a minor attempted to purchase alcohol from 11 retail licensees in the City of Chico. Of the 11 licensees visited, 3 sold alcohol to the minor. The other 8 establishments declined to sell alcohol to the minor. The locations where the minor was able to purchase alcohol were:

1. 2501 Notre Dame Blvd- Flyers 50 (Chevron)
2. 455 E. 20th Street, Fair Street market
3. 1105 Park Ave, Park Avenue 76

Those who sold to the minors face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business. That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

The Chico Police Department is conducting the compliance checks to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics have shown that young 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, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.

-from press release

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