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D.C. Cracks Down on Alcohol Sales to Minors


November 1994

104 Washington, D.C. businesses were cited in an operation designed to crack down on merchants selling alcohol to minors (Hamil R. Harris, "Police Cite 104 Businesses for Selling Alcohol to Minors," Washington Post, Oct. 13, 1994, p. DC1).

Almost half of the 220 corner stores, restaurants, liquor stores, and markets targeted in the sting operation sold alcohol to 20-year-old police investigators. If convicted of the criminal charges, the clerks who sold the alcohol could each face a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

"People are doing anything to make a buck," said Investigator Willie Blount of D.C.'s Alcohol Beverage Control. According to police, some of the merchants sold alcohol to the undercover officers even though they presented identification that proved they were underage.

Police Captain Michael Fitzgerald said that he thinks many of the merchants just get lazy in checking identification.

One market owner said that he was tricked by an officer. "[The police] can put makeup on someone and make them look like they are 40, and we're going to get caught," said Steven Kim, owner of Tenley Mini Mart.