Several arrested after TABC stings
By LPR Staff
Several Lockhart clerks were arrested and ticketed on Friday when the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) conducted a sting operation.
According to TABC sergeant Pete Champion, an 18-year-old undercover operative visited 10 retail sales locations in Lockhart and attempted to buy alcohol. In only four of the ten wa
s she properly “carded,” and refused sale.
“It seems that there”s a little problem out in Lockhart, or at least on that particular night, the clerks were a little bit lax,” Champion said. “On average, the state rate is about 20 percent non-compliance, and 60 percent of the locations that we targeted with the sting weren”t in compliance with the law.”
Sale of alcohol to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $4,000 and/or one year in county jail for the offending clerk. Retail locations that sell alcohol to minors are subject to license suspensions and fines.
In some cases, if other responsible parties could be located to operate the retail stores, the clerks found to be in violation were arrested and taken to jail, Champion said. However, some stores could not find other parties to secure the location in the event of the clerk”s arrest. Those clerks were ticketed and released, and will likely be subject to arrest warrants at a later date.
Champion was unsure whether the offending clerks had failed to identify the minor, or had checked identification and chosen to sell alcohol despite the operative”s under-age status. He said more details would become available as sting operation reports were completed.
The six locations found to be out of compliance with TABC regulations will have an option to re-educate their employees and pay fines up to $150 per day, rather than have their licenses suspended. However, after the retailers settle with TABC, they will be subject to another sting operation within 90 days.
“We give them the time to re-educate their employees, and then we go back to see if it was a one-time occurrence and if they”ve cleaned up their act,” Champion said.
According to Champion, no “on premise consumption” locations were targeted in the weekend”s sting operation.