Detectives with the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Investigations Division conducted operation “Sale Equals Bail” Friday evening, checking compliance at over twenty beer and wine retailers across the city. The results of the operation were disturbing, as over half of the retailers visited by Investigators sold alcoholic beverages to individuals under the age of 21.
During the operation, three cooperating individuals, under the direction and close supervision of NVID Detectives attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages from various convenience stores throughout the city. All three individuals are over the age of eighteen but under twenty-one, the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages in Texas. NVID Detectives checked twenty-two businesses and clerks at twelve of those stores sold alcoholic beverages to the underage operatives.
The store clerks who sold the alcoholic beverages, face a charge of Sale to Minors (TABC 106.3) a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4000. NVID will forward the results of this operation to the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission for administrative action against the permittees, which could include revocation, suspension and/or fines.
Similar recent operations conducted by NVID had resulted in higher compliance by TABC license holders, leaving NVID supervision puzzled and disappointed. “Clearly there is a need for better oversight by the managers and ownership of these businesses,” said NVID Deputy Chief Todd Green. “It’s extremely disturbing to us that during the height of spring break, the clerks at these stores are selling alcohol to minors without properly verifying identification. Alcohol is a common denominator in underage traffic fatalities, and frequently leads to numerous other negative consequences. Thus far, we have had a relatively safe spring break, and we need the cooperation of our partners in the business community to help us keep it that way.” NVID intends to conduct more of these operations in the near future, including repeat visits at previous offenders.
The Corpus Christi Police Department continues to collaborate with all government and private entities to combat underage drinking and help accomplish our mission of working with the community to reduce crime, reduce the fear of crime and enhance public safety.