Minden market sanctioned for selling alcohol to minors
The owner of the Minden AM/PM Minimarket was fined $2,000, ordered not to sell alcohol for a week and to retrain his employees after getting caught in an alcohol sting for the third time in two years.
Sheriff Ron Pierini said that having a business with a third violation is pretty rare, with only three or four in the last decade.
“None of us here want to see anyone lose their business,” he said.
Owner Ajai Goel told commissioners that he would rather not sell alcohol than to sell it to minors.
“It is not our intent to sell to minors,” he said. “The employees take an oath that they are not selling to anyone without checking their I.D.”
Golden Gate Petroleum and Walgreen’s were caught selling alcohol to minors for the second time in two years in an Oct. 1 sting that caught nine of two-dozen businesses checked.
County commissioner Steve Thaler expressed dismay at the nearly 40 percent failure rate among businesses.
“We as a community need to send a message that we take this seriously,” he said.
Pierini said the sheriff’s office offers training for businesses that sell liquor.
“We tell them that they don’t have to sell to someone if things don’t look right,” he said.
He said that at one time the sheriff’s office received grants to conduct the checks.
“But we think this is so important we continue to do the checks,” he said.
The minors are recruited and the sheriff gets permission from their parents to participate.
“They don’t argue with the clerks,” he said. “They just show them the ID. We don’t sting the same stores all the time. We put a lot of effort in to make sure it’s fair.”
According to the report from the sheriff’s office, the procedure is for the minor to attempt to purchase alcohol with an undercover deputy standing nearby to witness the purchase.
If the minor is successful, the minor turns the alcohol over to the supervising officer, and a uniformed deputy enters the store and writes a citation. The alcohol is returned for a refund.
Pierini said the sheriff’s office makes checks quarterly. Businesses with multiple violations are brought before the Douglas County Liquor Board, which consists of county commissioners and the sheriff.
That doesn’t happen until after the citation is adjudicated.
The district manager for Golden Gate Petroleum told commissioners that the clerk and the store manager were fired as a result of the citation, and that all the remaining employees retrained.