ATC checking businesses for underage drinking

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Downtown Baton Rouge on a Saturday night. It's a place that has grown in leaps and bounds, especially in the past few years. Restaurants and bars have opened everywhere and the possibility of more underage drinking increases. To try and combat that the Office of Alcohol Tobacco (ATC) is sending out young operatives to try and buy alcohol.

"It's bigger than you think. I'd say about one third of businesses during the compliance checks actually sell. So two thirds are doing the right thing and about a third is not. And we're sending 17-year-olds into these businesses. I like to remind businesses there is nothing good that can come with selling alcohol to a minor," says Troy Hebert, executive director of the ATC.

Last year, A-T-C hit 3000 businesses. This year they intend to exceed that amount.

"There was a summer compliance check while the kids are out of school and we're going around the state and conducting a widespread compliance check," says Hebert.

Bars, restaurants, and package stores will also be targeted. Fines can run as high as $10,000 dollars. Hebert says A-T-C recently closed a Lafayette business who had a fifth violation.

"An alcohol permit is a privilege and not a right in Louisiana and last summer we did it and this summer were going to do it again where were going to go around to the businesses and make sure they are not selling alcohol to kids and tobacco to kids," says Hebert.

This is the second year that Hebert has ordered the summer crackdown.

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