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7 Cited in Santa Cruz for Buying Booze for Minors

Santa Cruz PD joined statewide minor-decoy, "shoulder-tap" operation Saturday.

The term "shoulder tap" refers to the method used by minors to illegally obtain alcohol. Patch file photo.
The term "shoulder tap" refers to the method used by minors to illegally obtain alcohol. Patch file photo.
By Susan C. Schena and Bay City News Service 

More than 500 people were arrested or cited, including seven in Santa Cruz, during a minor-decoy "shoulder-tap" operation in the Bay Area and across California on Saturday, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Controlannounced Monday. 

Working with over 100 law enforcement agencies, the ABC conducted a statewide operation on Saturday leading to the arrest of 544 people for furnishing alcohol to people under the age of 21 and related charges. 

The term "shoulder tap" refers to the method used by minors to illegally obtain alcohol by standing outside of an ABC licensed establishment and asking nearby adults to purchase alcohol for them. 

During a decoy shoulder-tap operation a minor who is under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store, tell patrons that they are underage and ask the patrons to buy them alcohol, according to the ABC. 

If the adults agree to purchase the alcohol for the minor, the adult is arrested. The minimum penalty is a $1,000 and 24 hours of community service.

  • Seven citations were issued on Saturday in Santa Cruz, says John Carr of the state's ABC.
  • In San Rafael, police said 11 people were arrested for furnishing alcohol to minors during the decoy operation Saturday.
  • Police in Watsonville arrested five people for furnishing minors with alcohol.
  •  In Oakland, the minor decoy working with officers contacted 43 people at three separate locations. The operation resulted in the arrest of three citizens for providing alcohol to the minor, police said.
  • The Martinez Police Department participated in the shoulder-tap operation and also arrested three people for furnishing a minor with alcohol. A fourth person was arrested for public drunkenness and probation violation, Martinez police said.
While most individuals were cited for furnishing alcohol to minors, according to the ABC, citations were also issued for public drunkenness, driving under the influence, possession of illegal drugs, parole violations, resisting arrest, and outstanding warrants. 

Additional citations were issued for individuals who had open containers and provided law enforcement officials with false identification, according to the ABC.

In the same operation conducted on the same date in 2013, 506 people were arrested. 

In 2012, the operation netted 435 arrests, the ABC said. The operation's goal is to reduce youth access to alcohol, according to the ABC. 

The ABC said that the American Medical Association has linked underage drinking to an increased chance of unintentionally being injured or killed, as well as increasing the likelihood of risky sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, compromised health, and juvenile delinquency.

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