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News Releases

Get the latest headlines from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. You can look through all of the agency’s recent news releases on this page.

Members of the media should contact the TABC public information officer to make an inquiry.

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June 29, 2022

TABC encourages businesses to practice safety during busy July 4 holiday

AUSTIN — With Texans expected to flock to parades, festivals and other celebrations during the long Independence Day weekend, officials with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are encouraging alcohol retailers statewide to put safety first and avoid some of the most common alcohol-related violations. TABC agents will be on patrol across the state throughout the holiday, visiting businesses to ensure managers and staff are taking the proper steps to keep their communities safe. Major holidays — especially those which fall on a long weekend — often result in busy crowds at bars, restaurants and clubs, increasing the risk of alcohol-related violations. The most frequent violations include sales of alcohol to minors as well as alcohol sales to intoxicated persons. Both violations can result in fines for a liquor license suspension for the business as well as misdemeanor criminal charges for the employee conducting the sale. “The holiday weekend can be an incredibly busy and lucrative time for alcohol retailers, but businesses put their safety and financial security at risk when they neglect to follow the law,” TABC Chief of Law Enforcement Brandy Norris said. “Now is an excellent time to go over best practices with staff and ensure that anyone who sells, serves or handles alcohol understands the risks and warning signs of underage sales or intoxication.” Businesses across the state are encouraged to have a plan in place to verify customers’ age and ensure staff members are empowered to decline a sale if a customer is showing signs of intoxication. Information on best practices, as well as other resources for retailers, are available at tabc.texas.gov/public-safety/retailer-resources/. For more information about TABC, visit tabc.texas.gov. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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June 21, 2022

Lee County man arrested on multiple counts of selling alcohol to minors

AUSTIN — A Lee County convenience store clerk was arrested June 14 and charged with multiple counts of selling alcohol to minors following an investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Deepak Sidgel, 39, was booked into the Lee County Jail on four counts of Sales of Alcohol – Minor. He was later released after posting a $7,500 bond. Sidgel’s place of employment, Lexington Food Mart, 8889 N. Highway 77 in Lexington, has been the subject of multiple TABC investigations for improper alcohol sales. Sidgel, who has been arrested previously in connection with one of those investigations, now faces a total of five counts of selling alcohol to minors. “Any resident with information on illegal alcohol sales at a business is asked to contact TABC,” said Maj. Oliver Johnson of TABC’s Central Texas regional enforcement office. “Public involvement is critical when it comes to identifying businesses that place the community’s safety at risk. Tips from the public play a major role in holding businesses accountable and keeping Texans safe.” Businesses that sell alcohol to any person younger than 21 could face a fine or suspension of their license to sell alcohol, with repeat violations resulting in a permanent cancellation of the business’s liquor license. Employees of the business who sell alcohol to minors could also face a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and one year in jail. Anyone with information on the ongoing case is asked to contact TABC by emailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov or calling 888-THE-TABC.   Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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June 15, 2022

TABC arrests El Paso man on charges of impersonating an agent

EL PASO — An El Paso man landed behind bars after he claimed he was an agent of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission while visiting a local bar. Christopher Jacob Contreras, 27, was charged with impersonating a public servant, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Contreras was arrested by TABC agents June 13 and booked into the El Paso County Jail. TABC’s El Paso Enforcement Office received reports May 22 stating that a man had identified himself as a TABC agent while visiting an alcohol retailer. He told employees of the business that they had violated the law by selling alcohol to a person younger than 21. When questioned by a manager of the business, the man claimed he needed to speak with his TABC supervisor and left the premises. A subsequent investigation conducted by the El Paso Enforcement Office, with the help of local businesses as well as witnesses, identified the suspect. “We’re extremely grateful to the businesses who immediately reported this suspicious activity and enabled us to identify the impersonator so quickly,” said Brandy Norris, TABC Chief of Law Enforcement. “It’s important to remember that a legitimate TABC agent will always properly identify themselves as working for the agency and will have an official ID or a badge on display when making contact with a business owner or staff member.” The matter remains under investigation by TABC and local officials. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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June 11, 2022

TABC agents assist Harris County deputies during shots-fired response June 11

HARRIS COUNTY — Agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission were among the first to respond to a call of a shooting in progress from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) during a suspected shots-fired situation in the 12800 block of North Roslyn St. in Houston early June 11. HCSO deputies put out the call around 1:25 a.m. advising of possible gunshots in the area. Four TABC agents responded to the call and arrived on the scene shortly after deputies located a 45-year-old man with suspected gunshot wounds. While one of the agents applied tourniquets to stem the victim’s bleeding, the other agents helped sheriff’s deputies secure the scene. In all, two tourniquets were applied to the victim, who was later transferred to the care of emergency medical technicians prior to transporting him to Houston Northwest Hospital. TABC agents, who are commissioned peace officers, are often called upon to assist local law enforcement during emergency situations. “A very large part of our job is providing support to our partners at local police departments or sheriff’s offices,” said Victor Kuykendoll, Deputy Executive Director for Enforcement. “At the end of the day, our primary role is to help keep our entire community – not just the alcoholic beverage industry – safe.” The case remains under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.   Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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May 27, 2022

TABC reminds businesses to practice safety ahead of busy Memorial Day weekend

AUSTIN – As Texans gather to celebrate graduation and the Memorial Day holiday, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is reminding alcohol retailers to help keep their employees and customers safe by responsibly selling and serving alcohol. TABC agents will be on duty across the state during the Memorial Day weekend to ensure businesses follow the state’s alcohol laws, including the prevention of alcohol sales or service to minors and intoxicated patrons. Agents will conduct inspections both openly and while undercover, according to Victor Kuykendoll, TABC deputy executive director of Enforcement. “While this is a time of celebration, it’s also an opportunity to remind our partners in the alcoholic beverage industry of the critical role they play in ensuring Texans stay safe,” Kuykendoll said. “Alcohol retailers are often the first to spot the signs of intoxication, or an underage patron attempting to purchase alcohol, and their employees are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing loss of life in our communities and on our highways.” Most Texas alcohol retailers require employees to obtain TABC seller-server certification, which includes training on how to spot signs of intoxication or underage customers. Even so, Kuykendoll said, it’s important for employers to empower their staff to take proactive steps to prevent illegal alcohol sales. “We strongly encourage retailers to decline any alcohol sale if there’s a doubt about a customer’s age or level of intoxication,” he said. “Doing so not only protects the public, it can help protect a business from legal and financial penalties stemming from a violation.” Businesses found in violation of state alcohol laws could face a fine or temporary suspension of their TABC license. Additionally, employees who improperly sell alcohol could face a misdemeanor charge leading to possible fines or jail time. For more information about TABC, visit tabc.texas.gov.   Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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April 29, 2022

TABC arrests fugitive on Interpol ‘Red Notice’ list

AUSTIN – A man long sought by Mexican federal police for human trafficking charges is now behind bars after he was arrested Friday morning by agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Hugo Texis is currently in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement holding facility following his arrest by members of TABC’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU). SIU agents identified Texis as the subject of an active Interpol “Red Notice” issued by the Mexican federal police. He was located as part of a long-term ongoing investigation by SIU agents in the Houston area. Interpol Red Notices are issued for fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence. They are used to alert police in all member countries about internationally wanted fugitives. Red Notices help bring fugitives to justice, sometimes many years after the original crime was committed. When a person is sought for prosecution, they have not been convicted and should be considered innocent until proven guilty. TABC investigators collaborated with agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of State as well as Interpol and the Mexican federal police to make the arrest. Local and federal law enforcement agencies also participated in the arrest. Texis was safely placed under arrest and is currently being processed in DHS-ICE facilities. Texis, who is not a U.S. citizen, was previously deported in 2013. The Texas Legislature in 2019 made the investigation of human trafficking a top priority for TABC. One of the ways Texans can assist in the fight is by spotting the signs of potential trafficking at a location and reporting it. If you have information related to this individual or would like to report suspected trafficking, visit bit.ly/tabc-ht for more information. If you are a human trafficking survivor and would like to speak with the TABC victim services coordinator, email Victim.Services@tabc.texas.gov. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov

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April 27, 2022

TABC suspends Laredo bar following long-term trafficking investigation

AUSTIN — A Laredo bar is banned from selling alcoholic beverages for 90 days after investigators from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Special Investigations Unit found evidence of narcotics trafficking, prostitution and drink solicitation. Reyna’s Club, 511 San Agustin Avenue in Laredo, was the subject of a TABC emergency order issued this week following a long-term investigation that began in May 2021. TABC agents began the investigation after receiving multiple complaints related to potential human trafficking at the site. The business had also been the subject of multiple calls for service by the Laredo Police Department, including complaints related to public lewdness and assault. A series of inspections by TABC investigators later found cause to suspend the business’s permit for 90 days. Section 11.614 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code authorizes TABC to suspend a business’s liquor license or permit for up to 90 days if it’s believed that the continued operation of the business could prove a risk to public safety. During the suspension, no alcohol may be served or sold at the location. “Crimes such as narcotics trafficking, prostitution, or drink solicitation are often strong indicators of possible human trafficking,” said Bentley Nettles, TABC Executive Director. “As Texas’ sole alcohol regulator, TABC is committed to investigating any potential trafficking taking place in the businesses we license. Organized crime has no place in Texas.” The Texas Legislature in 2019 made the investigation of human trafficking a top priority for TABC, giving the agency the authority to investigate organized crime, including trafficking, prostitution, and drink solicitation, which is the act of overcharging customers when they purchase drinks for bar employees. The case remains under investigation. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov.

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April 13, 2022

TABC Cancels Houston Bar's Liquor Permit Following Human Trafficking Investigation

AUSTIN — A Houston-area bar’s liquor permit has been revoked after investigators from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s Special Investigations Unit discovered a suspected brothel operating there. Vegas Nite Club, 12629 W. Hardy Road in Houston, was the subject of a TABC emergency order issued this week following an investigation into allegations of prostitution and human trafficking March 26. During the investigation, TABC investigators made contact with multiple women believed to be working at the location, obtaining information that’s led to both administrative actions being taken on the TABC permit and criminal charges filed against several suspects. TABC Victim Services offered assistance to all of the possible victims of human trafficking identified that night. TABC investigators later served the bar owner with an emergency order requiring them to stop all alcohol sales and service for 90 days. An order permanently cancelling the business’ liquor license soon followed. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Sec. 11.61 requires the Commission to cancel a business’ liquor license or permit if it’s found that “the place or manner in which the permittee conducts the permittee’s business warrants the cancellation or suspension of the permit based on the general welfare, health, peace, morals, and safety of the people.” “I’m incredibly proud of the work by our TABC agents, as well as our local, state and federal partners during this operation,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “Prostitution is one of the leading indicators of even more serious organized criminal activity, including human trafficking. TABC will continue to actively investigate and put a stop to any criminal activity taking place in the businesses we license.” Joining TABC on the investigation were the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigations Division, FBI, Harris County Constable’s Office – Precinct 1, U.S. Department of State and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. The case remains under investigation. Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462 media@tabc.texas.gov.

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April 8, 2022

TABC and the Texas Restaurant Association Work Together To Promote Safe Alcohol Delivery, To-Go Sales

AUSTIN – The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) have announced a new effort to promote TABC’s certification course on alcohol delivery safety. The Texas Responsible Alcohol Delivery Course (TRAD), much like the TABC Seller-Server Certification, shares with delivery drivers and foodservice establishment operators the necessary information to safely conduct alcohol-to-go deliveries. To facilitate the ease of accessing the TRAD training course and certification, the TRA has added the course to its catalog of training resources available for members across the state. The course is designed for persons who deliver alcoholic beverages to consumers on behalf of a retail business or for a delivery company that holds a Consumer Delivery Permit issued by TABC.  “TABC appreciates the Texas Restaurant Association’s support to get alcohol delivery drivers educated and trained on the law and safety,” said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. “TABC’s TRAD course not only educates drivers on how to make legal and safe alcohol deliveries, certification can also provide protections to delivery drivers and companies if certain mistakes are made during a delivery. TRAD certification helps protect Texas businesses, their workers, and our communities.” By working with the TRA — which represents the state’s $70 billion restaurant industry and a workforce of 1.3 million employees — TABC can reach more alcohol delivery drivers with important public safety information. “The last two years have been an incredible challenge for restaurant and foodservice operators,” said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association. “Without alcohol-to-go, many restaurants would not have survived the COVID-19 pandemic. With alcohol-to-go made permanent during the last legislative session, we are proud to partner with TABC to provide our operators and their employees access to proper safety training to continue successfully including alcohol in their delivery orders.” Click here for more information on the TRA partnership. The course is also available through the TRA and TABC websites.   TABC Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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March 17, 2022

TABC Operations To Identify Retailers Selling Alcohol to Minors Now Under Way

AUSTIN — Agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are in liquor stores, bars, beaches and other locations where alcohol is sold throughout March as part of the agency’s annual spring break alcohol enforcement operations. The operations identify locations where alcohol is sold to minors in violation of state law. Planned activities for 2022 include underage compliance operations, in which TABC agents accompany a minor who attempts to buy alcohol, as well as increased patrols at popular spring break locations such as South Padre Island and Austin’s South by Southwest music festival. “A single alcohol-related death during spring break is one too many. That’s why our agents will be out in force throughout March to identify locations selling alcohol to minors,” said Bentley Nettles, TABC Executive Director. “TABC’s goal is to ensure alcohol retailers are doing their part to keep Texas roads and businesses safe.” The agency works with retailers before the operation to help identify best practices and provide tips on how to avoid some of the most common alcohol-relation violations, Nettles added. “This operation is not intended to penalize retailers who are doing their best to operate during an extremely busy period,” Nettles said. “Our goal is to ensure business owners have the tools they need to successfully operate while keeping Texans safe.” Businesses that sell alcohol to persons under 21 could face a civil fine or suspension of their license to sell alcohol. Employees who conduct the sale could also find themselves charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. During last year’s spring break operations, TABC agents conducted 2,322 inspections and found just 75 violations, representing a compliance rate of more than 97%. For more information about TABC, visit tabc.texas.gov. TABC Media Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer media@tabc.texas.gov

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