ATC hones in on underage alcohol sales for the summer

ATC hones in on underage alcohol sales for the summer

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A 17 year-old walks into a store to buy booze.

If she walks out empty handed, it's a good day for Alcohol Tobacco Control Agent Corey Alfred. If she succeeds, he has to take care of the issue.

A few minutes after the teen walks in, she returns with a bottle of Cabernet.

"They see the IDs, but they don't really check them. That's where they get in trouble," explained Alfred.

The teen is working with ATC as a part of a compliance check operation.  They usually partner with 16 or 17 year olds because their Louisiana Driver's Licenses are vertical and very easy to spot as being underage.  She goes into stores or restaurants with her real ID and tries to purchase alcohol. 

According to the ATC, 85 percent of vendors will follow procedure and pass the spot check.  However, some are still caught. 
Selling alcohol or tobacco to a minor results in a criminal citation for the server and possibly the business as well.  If those penalties pile up, the business and server could lose their permits. 

With summer in full swings, operations are playing out all over the state.

"Statistically, with the kids out of school the chances of them drinking alcohol and using tobacco are a lot higher," said ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert.

According to ATC, 15,000 vendors state wide are permitted to sell alcohol alone, that's one permit for every 400 people.  Hebert says because of that, it's vital to make sure everyone is selling and buying responsibly.

"It's obviously a commodity that we watch very closely because it could be dangerous," said Hebert.

Out of three checks 9News witnessed, one did refused to sell to the teen and earned an award certificate. Hebert hopes there will be more awards than citations this summer.

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