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May 6, 2016

TABC Announces Prom/Graduation Season Undercover Operations in West Texas

Effort intended to curb risk of underage drinking during prom/graduation

Agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's West Texas Enforcement Region will increase the number of plainclothes operations intended to curb the sale of alcohol to minors during the busy prom/graduation season.

Enforcement agents from TABC's Region 1, which encompasses all of West Texas, will conduct a series of initiatives, including minor stings, undercover on-premise surveillance, and cooperative plainclothes operations at retailers across the area. The operations will target premises which sell alcohol for on- and off-premise consumption, TABC officials said.

During a minor sting, undercover TABC agents accompany a minor-aged volunteer into a retail establishment which sells alcohol. The minor will attempt to purchase alcohol from the retailer. On-premise undercover operations are conducted by plainclothes agents attempting to observe illicit sales of alcohol to underage patrons. Cooperative operations involve plainclothes agents partnering with local businesses to thwart attempted purchases of alcohol by underage customers as well as adults who try to purchase alcohol for minors. Retailers who sell alcohol to a minor could face TABC administrative action. Employees who sell alcohol to a minor could be charged with a class A misdemeanor, resulting in a fine up to $4,000 and one year in jail.

Scheduling these operations just prior to the upcoming prom/graduation activities throughout the area is intended get the message to local alcohol retailers to be extra vigilant, explained Major Mark Menn, Enforcement Supervisor for the TABC West Texas Region.

"Unfortunately, every year we see incidents where a time of wonderful celebration and anticipation for the future turns into a nightmare of pain and loss for some Texas families. Young lives full of promise are cut short in alcohol-related fatalities. It is our hope that we can encourage our partners in the alcohol industry to do everything they can to prevent some of these tragedies" said Major Menn.

A series of minor sting operations in March revealed that over 95 percent of West Texas retailers successfully prevented the sale of alcohol to minors at their establishments, with just 4 violations out of 85 retailers who were checked.

Media Contact:Major Mark Menn Enforcement Supervisor, TABC Lubbock Office (806) 793-3221 extension 2903