Four Arrests Made in Martinez Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation

March 18, 2014 9:00 am · 21 comments


Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and Officers from the Martinez Police Department joined forces with law enforcement agencies throughout California in a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation designed to help reduce youth access to alcohol.

The task force operation in Martinez was conducted on Saturday, March 15th and resulted in four arrests.

Three individuals were cited for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors, another was arrested for public drunkenness and probation violations. Statewide, hundreds of people were cited or arrested during the operation.

ABC agents and local law enforcement conducted a program called a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation which can lead to the arrest of adults who purchase alcohol for people under 21 years old. Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.

If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.

Many local operations were funded by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control through the department’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP), and some were funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

Babkitty March 18, 2014 at 9:21 AM

What upstanding citizens, pure pillars of the community…

Funnyclown March 18, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Thats good that they are working on reducing availability of alcohol to minors. They should work on drugs for minors, its easier for minors to get drugs than alcohol, that should be a bigger concern, but every little helps.

Schmee March 18, 2014 at 10:39 AM

As new people turn 21 they will have new spotters. What a waste of police time. These guys are just fine collectors nothing more. Wastes of space lol.

jtothec March 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM

It’s also called “entrapment”.

If you refuse a minor....Leave..... March 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM

don’t go in the store….they WILL trash your car….

94519 March 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I hope it makes even a few people think twice
about buying alcohol for minors, and it’s par
for the course for posters 3 and 4 to be against
this tactic. And it’s not ” entrapment”.
The biggest threat to youth these days are
Prescription drugs and so called ” bath salt”
synthetic drugs.
But keeping these things from young people has
been going on since time began. We can’t stop
now, honest parental involvement has always
been lacking on this subject, as it has been
regarding sex.

I've always wondered March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Do they get arrested when they take the money, or when they come out with the alcohol? I think it would be funny to say, “Give me the money and I’ll think about it” then go in the store and come out with a 6-pack of Coke or something (preferably after at least half an hour of shopping). It doesn’t seem like any crime would have been committed in that scenario. Even funnier would be to take the cash and escape out another door, but then you’re stealing the money.

I’m not sure how somebody could possibly be charged with providing alcohol to a minor if they’re arrested before they even go in the store.

ben March 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

i’m not going to editorialize over the rights/wrongs of buying alcohol for minors… but let’s think about it… why would you ever go buy booze for a kid you’ve never seen before? seems like common sense to me, and you deserve to get pinched if you fall for it.

B March 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

I don’t support any loser who provides alcohol to minors… But how is this not considered entrapment??? What’s the loophole?

The Mamba March 18, 2014 at 12:21 PM

I don’t understand why people would buy alcohol for underage kids, just seems like a no win situation and I sure wouldn’t appreciate you buying alcohol for my child when he’s that age.

☆♧caution March 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I’m pretty sure this is called entrapment. If store owners better monitored their stores with cameras or additional staff they may be able to prevent this type of behavior. As a parent of a teen I over hear things that concern me about the access are teens have to drugs and alcohol. I know she had friends who’s parents dont care and no doubt buy alcohol. Plus teens steal alcohol from stores. Especially Safeway.

Anon March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

“It’s also called “entrapment”.”

Sure it is…NOT
They have been doing this for 30+ years & the courts love it – nothing bad here– just good with it — if any part of it was wrong–they would not still be doing it

FB March 18, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Such a much more intolerant attitude toward teens and drinking compared to back in the late 1970s when I turned 21. I used to buy for minors sometimes back then but never since. Quite a hefty fine now, plus in hindsight we know that young people do stupid things, often when combined with alcohol. And it is sad when young people die in drunk driving accidents.

Do high school students still get together for kegger parties on weekends like they used to? I used to enjoy going to those. And I remember sitting in my parents’ backyard one day, drinking a beer at about age 19, and thinking, here I am, an Eagle Scout, an A student, never been in trouble, I could be drafted, go to war, serve on a jury, vote, get married, go to jail, etc. yet, just by holding this bottle of beer, I could be arrested.

I remember being in Montana in 1975, where 18 was the legal drinking age back then, walking into a pizza parlor and ordering a beer, and being served one, like it was perfectly normal and no big deal.

Those days are gone forever.

Suzanne March 18, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Self-serving, intolerable, selfish twits! Three slaps and toss them all in Jail!

Slowfolder March 18, 2014 at 2:32 PM

How about stores that don’t ask for ID? When I was 18, I knew about 3 different places that sold to minors and we never got caught. I don’t recommend this as an option for anyone under 21. Regardless, it’s a ‘stats’ game. I doubt any of it will actually do any good other than collecting fines.

Guy Collins March 18, 2014 at 4:22 PM


EAST BAY VELO WORKS March 18, 2014 at 6:22 PM

ENTRAPMENT! waste of resources.

Bradford March 18, 2014 at 6:42 PM

@Suzanne…they are a lot of things, but “self-serving” and “selfish” aren’t on the list. What’s in it for them? Unless the teen is offering togive them some EXTRA cash, I don’t see it.

@ EAST BAY VELO WORKS March 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Please explain to me how this is ENTRAPMENT?

caskydiver March 18, 2014 at 10:52 PM

Not sure I agree with the part of being arrested upon AGREEING to purchase alcohol for the minor. Agreeing to it and actually doing it are two different things. One can have a few moments to think about it before the actual purchase and change their minds after reflecting on it. If that’s the case, no harm done if initially agreed to but not followed through.
If this has been a big problem in the neighborhoods lately, then this is a valid operation. But I do think the local PDs have bigger fish to fry vs worrying about this stuff.

Chad March 18, 2014 at 11:32 PM

I don’t know how the United States of America can be so technologically forward and so socially backwards at the same time. European countries have relaxed drinking laws with regards to age and NOWHERE near the amount of binge drinking deaths that we have.

How many of you have really had your first drink at age 21? That’s what I thought….

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: