Merced, CA- Officers with the Merced Police Department worked a minor decoy sting operation on Tuesday, May 30th. The purpose of the sting operation was to ensure that businesses are not selling alcohol to underage customers. Under the direct supervision of the officers, minor decoys (juveniles under the legal age to drink/purchase alcohol) entered businesses that are licensed to sell alcohol and then attempted to purchase alcohol.
The following businesses did not sell alcohol to the minor decoys:
• Me n Ed’s Pizzeria, G St
• El Asadero Taco Shop, G St
• Sushi Cuisine, G St
• Hong Kong Restaurant, G St
• Golden Bowl Restaurant, G St
• La Hacienda 2, G St
• Pizza Hut, Olive Ave
• Hibachi Grill, Olive Ave
• Taqueria El Hurache, R St
• AM/PM, G St
• Circle G Mini Mart, G St
• 7/11, Olive Ave
• Village Liquors, G St
• Circle K Mini Mart, G St
“It is encouraging when the employees of these restaurants check identifications and refuse to sell alcohol to minors,” said Sgt. Alan Ward. “This will help keep Merced’s youth safe.”
One business did sell alcohol to a minor. Pizza Factory on G St sold alcohol to a minor. Those who sell alcohol to a minor will have administrative action taken against them. That action may include a fine, a suspension of their liquor license, or the permanent revocation of the license or all of the above.
Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s. 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 to 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 liquor licensees are complying with the law. Funding for this program was provided by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Along with four officers from the Merced Police Department, there were two agents from ABC that assisted with the sting operation.

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