COAST CITIES — It’s illegal for a clerk to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person, and on April 22, eight out of 10 workers at businesses in Encinitas and Solana Beach sold alcohol to an undercover deputy who feigned intoxication.
The deputy wore plainclothes and acted and smelled like he was intoxicated to test if workers would sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, according to a release issued by San Diego Sheriff’s Department Glenn Giannantonio.
According to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, it is illegal to provide or sell alcohol to “obviously intoxicated persons.”
The state’s department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, had trained the deputy prior to the Drunk Decoy Operation to ensure the performance was consistent and represented intoxication.
The deputy’s clothing was sprayed with alcohol prior to each store’s visit, and an ABC investigator also worked in an undercover capacity at the locations that the test was conducted at.
Ten establishments were visited, and of those, eight individuals sold
alcohol to the decoy deputy, according to Giannantonio.
Citations were not issued because the decoy deputy was only pretending to be intoxicated, but immediate on-site training was provided to the involved clerks, and a follow-up ABC presentation was offered to employees at a later date.
“We used it as a training tool,” said John Carr, spokesman for California ABC. “They made those businesses aware that they need to be careful.”
Carr said that if someone sells alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person, the penalties range from a fine, to suspension, to complete revocation of the alcohol beverage license depending on the track record of the business.