Decoys help authorities guard alcohol sales

SAN BERNARDINO – Police arrested three men on Thursday for selling alcohol to minors, who were helping authorities monitor illegal sales.

Vann Kim, Ravinder Singh and Bhupesh Garg were arrested at different locations after underage decoys attempted to buy alcohol from markets licensed by the city of San Bernardino.

Minor Decoy, the operation in which police use underage decoys directed by officers, has been conducting sweeps since the late 1980s, Lt. Jarrod Burguan said on Friday.

Kim, 45, was arrested at V & S Mini Mart on 1408 West 9th St. Singh, 38, was arrested at Amigo Market at 1602 W. Highland Ave. and Garg, 33, was arrested at Gary’s Liquor at 3133 North Golden Ave.

Burguan said operations were conducted at eight retail locations, each of which was licensed by the city to sell alcohol.

“We’ve conducted checks to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors,” Burguan said.

Citing crime statistics, Burguan said that selling to minors “was as high as 40 to 50 percent when the program first began in the late 1980s. When (we conduct sweeps) on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below.”

Burguan said that the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1994 that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that liquor licensees are complying with the law.

“People under 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population,” said Burguan.

Those who sell alcohol to the minors face a minimum fine of $250 and could serve 24 to 32 hours of community service on a first violation. The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can also take administrative action against the businesses, which could include a fine, suspension of their liquor license or permanent revocation of the license.

Decoys help authorities guard alcohol sales was last modified: August 15th, 2011 by admin
Categories: San Bernardino

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Lee Brown

Obrey "Lee" Brown has worked for 10 newspapers and magazines in the Bay Area, central and southern California. In 2005, he wrote "A Citrus Test: Football in Black & White." He can be reached at