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Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and ABC Participate in Statewide Underage Drinking Enforcement Operation

Isla Vista, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies and agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cited three individuals during ABC’s statewide Shoulder Tap operation on March 9, 2024  in Isla Vista and Goleta for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors. This enforcement operation is designed to create awareness about the dangers of underage drinking throughout California and keep communities safe.

A Shoulder Tap operation focuses on adults who purchase alcohol for persons under the age of 21. A minor under the direct supervision of law enforcement stands outside of a liquor or convenience store and asks customers to buy them alcohol. The minor also indicates they are underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.

“There’s no question these efforts save lives, keep minors safe and families intact. The Sheriff’s Office appreciates the long partnership with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors in Santa Barbara County” said Lieutenant Garrett Te Slaa from the Isla Vista Foot Patrol station.

If an adult agrees to purchase alcohol for the underage person, they can be arrested and cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

“We conduct these operations to keep alcohol out of the hands of our youth,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough. “By preventing underage drinking we can increase the quality of life in our communities and reduce DUIs.”

Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a much higher risk of being involved in a crash than older drivers. About 25 percent of fatal crashes involve underage drinking according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This operation was funded by ABC’s Alcohol Policing Partnership program and the California Office of Traffic Safety through NHTSA.

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