Police cited five people for providing alcohol to underage persons in both Goleta and Isla Vista during this past weekend, part of a statewide operation in which police attempt to crack down on underage drinking.
The Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation, which happened on March 9, saw police bring underage persons over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 to convenience and liquor stores around the I.V. and Goleta area, according to Kelly Hoover, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) spokesperson.
The minor would then stand outside of the business and ask those over the age of 21 to buy them alcohol; if the individual agrees, and purchases alcohol for the purpose of giving it to the decoy minor, police would then issue a citation for “furnishing alcohol to a minor.”
Hoover did not specify at which liquor stores in the area the operation happened.
“The goal of the operation was to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and also to make it clear to any adults that buy alcohol to minors that there are serious consequences,” Hoover said in a press release sent out on Monday.
Overall, 67 people were contacted; however, only five citations were issued to those who agreed to purchase alcohol for underage persons.
Police also issued one citation to a minor in possession of alcohol.
These type of operations have been seen several times in I.V. and Goleta.
As stated in a previous press release, police generally conduct three types of operations when attempting to manage underage drinking: a Minor Decoy operation, in which an underage person attempts to buy alcohol directly from the business; a Trapdoor operation, aimed at curbing the use of fake IDs; and a Decoy Shoulder Tap operation, like the one that happened this past weekend.
There are several I.V.-based liquor/convenience stores that sell alcohol: Keg N’ Bottle, SOS Liquor, Isla Vista Market, International Food Market, Six-Pak Shop and the I.V. Food Cooperative.
Businesses in I.V. have been cited in the past for providing alcohol to minors. In 2015, during such an operation, police cited seven businesses for knowingly selling alcohol to individuals under the age of 21, the Nexus previously reported.
Hundreds of citations are issued across the state in Shoulder Tap operations each year, according to a press release sent out by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Police cited more than 430 people in 2012, 506 in 2013, 544 in 2014, 432 in 2015, 432 in 2016 and 446 in 2017.
On March 9, more than 361 individuals across California – including those in I.V. and Goleta – were cited for providing underage persons with alcohol. The operations are funded by a California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control grant, Hoover said.