Seven accused of purchasing alcohol for minors

Sting operation in Jurupa Valley and Eastvale was part of statewide campaign

POSTED: 05:27 PM PDT Mar 16, 2013    UPDATED: 05:37 PM PDT Mar 16, 2013 
JURUPA VALLEY, Calif. -

Seven people were cited for allegedly buying alcohol for underage minors during a decoy operation that ran in Jurupa Valley and Eastvale, part of a major statewide enforcement campaign, officials said today.

Sheriff's deputies and members of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency conducted the six-hour "Shoulder Tap" operation at nine liquor stores in the Riverside County communities Friday.

The joint-operation was part of a statewide effort to curb underage drinking and scale back the accessibility of alcoholic beverages to minors, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Andrew Elia said.

Twenty-one adults were contacted by teens who stood outside the stores and asked the adults to buy alcohol for them. One of the seven people who were eventually cited had an old misdemeanor warrant for an unspecified offense and two vehicles were towed, Elia said.

The bust in Jurupa Valley was part of a statewide effort that included more than 100 law enforcement agencies in a record-setting Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation, in coordination with agents from Alcoholic Beverage Control workers, according to a department statement.

The Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation was conducted on Friday and resulted in 475 arrests, more than last year's total of 435.  At least 50 of the individuals cited were also arrested for other crimes such as illegal drugs, illegal gun possession, public drunkenness, parole violations and outstanding warrants, according to the statement.

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 makes it a point that she or he is underage and cannot buy alcohol.

If the adult agrees to buy the alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to a minor -- which carries a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service, according to the statement.

The operation, which was conducted Friday, was the first of three planned by police with funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.