SANTA MARIA – Purchasing alcohol for minors never pays and several individuals recently learned that sobering lesson the hard way.
Santa Maria Police Department officers partnered with agents from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to conduct a ‘shoulder tap’ operation on Friday, March 15, resulting in the arrest of four area residents.
Arrested during the operation were: Alejandro Aviles Millan, 31, Raul Metgar Portillo , 41, Cecilio Mendoza Espinoza, 42, and Isidiro Fisher, 25. Fisher was also charged with theft, providing false information and violation of probation, according to police.
During a ‘shoulder tap,’ a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer stood outside a liquor or convenience store and asked adults to buy them alcohol. The minor indicated in some way they are underage and cannot purchase the alcohol themselves.
If an adult agreed to purchase alcohol for the minor, investigators arrested and cited the individual for furnishing alcohol to the minor. A person must be 21 years old in California to legally possess alcohol and, according to the police, the penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service,.
The Police Department didn’t identify the location of the undercover operation, which was part of a statewide effort to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.
Statistics show minors generally have a higher rate of drunken driving crashes than adults and that the combination of alcohol and youth tends to increase criminal conduct, according to police. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health and result in unintentional injury and death.