TABC conducting Spring Break stings


(KYTX) - A warning to underage students going on Spring Break vacation... The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is cracking down on minors trying to buy alcohol ahead of their big trips.

TABC is conducting at least 600 sting operations around Spring Break at liquor stores and convenience stores.

"TABC- they're out and about, and we're going to make sure that we're not selling to any minors."

D&N grocery store manager Ebaristo Torres says Spring Break or not, his clerks are all TABC certified and on the lookout for minors trying to buy alcohol.

"First, they're going to be carded. And, what we do usually is we pay attention to the beer area. We have someone working here all the time. And, if anyone looking under 30 is trying to get beer, we always pay special attention to them."

Torres says his clerks are already expecting a sting because Tyler just went wet.

"We're pretty much on high alert now because it's kind of time for one to happen. So, we're trying to take the precautions."

And TABC Sergeant Mark Stokke says it's coming soon.

"We expect them, at this point, right now, to be compliant and know what they're doing. And, hopefully when we do a sting in Tyler, we won't get any of them. That's always our goal."

In the meantime, Stokke says TABC's minor sting operations will be concentrated along major highways that lead to Texas beaches like Galveston and South Padre for Spring Break.

Here's how it works... TABC sends someone underage into a store to buy alcohol with a valid drivers license.

"And, they'll just go and buy a six-pack of beer or whatever it is that they buy." says Sgt. Stokke. "If asked their age, they'll be honest. They'll say I'm 17 or I'm 18."

If the clerk still gives them the alcohol, they'll have to deal with the TABC officer waiting outside. And, Stokke says the store can expect major penalties.

"We are out there looking. We have some programs where we go into the stores and pose as clerks."

28-year-old Albert Anderson says the consequences just aren't worth it for minors who get caught trying to buy alcohol this Spring Break.

"Two beers will get your life taken or get anything that you've worked for in your lifetime taken in five seconds. It's really not worth it."

"That's going to stay on their record, you know, for the rest of their lives." says Sgt. Stokke. 

Not to mention ruin their Spring Break.

Students can get ticketed for possession of alcohol by a minor, but just the attempt to purchase alcohol is also against the law, and it's "attempt to purchase by a minor."

As for the store, they'll get hit with an eight-day suspension or $2,400 fine for the first offense. If TABC catches the same store doing it again, the penalties double. The third time, TABC can cancel the store's permit to sell alcohol.


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