Newport Beach Police Department Issues Citations for Selling Alcohol to Minors

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Detectives from the Newport Beach Police Department, in cooperation with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), have issued citations to three people for selling alcohol to a minor.

The action was the result of a “Minor Decoy Operation” on May 13, 2022, in which adults under the age of 21, under the direct supervision of the investigators, attempted to purchase alcohol from six separate retail licensees in the city of Newport Beach.

Citations were issued at three establishments: Lighthouse Café, Chipotle (Balboa Peninsula), and Fry’s Market. The remaining three businesses did not sell alcohol to the underage decoys: Chevron (Bayside/Coast Hwy), Chihuahua Cerveza, and 7-Eleven (Balboa Peninsula).

Those who sell alcoholic beverages to minors may face a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 24-32 hours of community service for a first violation.

In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license belonging to the businesses where the sales to minors occurred. Possible repercussions include fines, suspension of the establishment’s liquor license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

Minor Decoy Operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool for law enforcement to ensure that licensed premises are complying with the law.

The City of Newport Beach has 335 licensed establishments.

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