Ventura Police setup sting on retail stores selling alcohol to minors

drinking.not.minoThe Ventura Police Department conducted a Minor Decoy Operation at various alcohol establishments throughout the City of Ventura. The Minor Decoy Program is an enforcement program that Alcohol Beverage Control and local law enforcement agencies use to detect and deter the sales of alcohol to minors. During the program, a minor decoy, under the direct supervision of law enforcement officers, attempts to purchase alcohol at retail locations.

The minor decoy was sent into ten alcohol retail stores throughout the city.  All ten of the stores asked the minor their age and/or requested identification, then determined the minor was less than 21 years of age, and refused to sell the alcohol. All ten of the stores that refused to sell alcohol to the minor will receive notification by mail of their success.

The following businesses DID NOT sell to the minor decoy:

  1. Jake’s Wayback Burger, 4960 Telephone Rd., Ventura CA 93003
  2. Chevron, 4411 Market St., Ventura CA 93003
  3. Mariners Plaza Liquor, 3965 Harbor Blvd., #A, Ventura CA 93001
  4. Margarita Villa, 1567 Spinnaker Dr., #200, Ventura CA 93001
  5. Social Tap, 1105 S. Seward Ave., Ventura CA 93001
  6. Surf Liquor, 1050 S. Seaward Ave., Ventura CA 93001
  7. Harbor Valero Gas, 2121 Harbor Blvd., Ventura CA 93001
  8. Beach House Tacos, 668 Harbor Blvd., Ventura CA 93001
  9. Vons, 2764 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura CA 93003
  10. Valley Liquor, 2973 Loma Vista Dr., Ventura CA 93003

Today’s operation marks the first time since 2007 that a minor decoy operation, conducted by the Ventura Police Department, did not result in a sale to the decoy. The operations are conducted numerous times throughout the year and the establishments are picked randomly.

In 2006 the City of Ventura enacted an  ordinance requiring alcohol beverage establishments to obtain a use permit. The regulations and standards adopted in the ordinance were intended to reduce problems arising out of the operation of businesses engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages. The permit includes operational standards and any training requirements incorporated as conditions of the permit.

One such condition is Responsible Beverage Sales and Service training of the establishment’s employees. This training provides the employee with the knowledge of state and local regulations, skills to refuse sales to minors and intoxicated persons, best business practices and much more.

The Ventura Police Department Alcohol Enforcement Unit has been actively ensuring the alcohol establishments in Ventura have this training. The result has clearly shown to be a benefit to the establishment and our community.

Furnishing (which includes sales or service) alcohol to a minor will result in not only a misdemeanor arrest of the person furnishing the alcohol but discipline on the business. The business could be fined, have its State alcohol license suspended or revoked.  

Funding for this minor decoy operation was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Officer Bernadette Compean is our Department’s Alcohol Enforcement Officer and supervised the operation.  She is also in charge of the Responsible Retailer Program, which is a program to improve public health and safety in our community by increasing the awareness of the dangers that result from improper sales and service of alcoholic beverages, particularly to minors and those who may already be intoxicated.  The Ventura Police Department, in conjunction with other county agencies and organizations, provides alcohol beverage establishments with responsible beverage sales and service training. Officer Compean oversees all Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) licenses and alcohol sales permits within the City of Ventura.


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