200 underage alcohol sales violations issued in 1 year in JP

200 underage alcohol sales violations issued in 1 year in JP

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A large bust across Jefferson Parish reveals a large number of people were in the business of selling alcohol to minors.

"The numbers absolutely did surprise me, and it showed just how prevalent and how lacks we are about selling alcohol to minors in our community," said Councilwoman At-Large Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

From Aug. 31, 2015 to June 30, 2016, Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies popped 174 businesses across the parish for selling alcohol to minors.

There were 26 businesses that were repeat offenders, meaning in a year's time, deputies issued 200 underage drinking citations.

"The more egregious cases I think are where the undercover agent actually presented a driver's license that reflected that he or she was underage and they were still served," Sheriff Newell Normand said.

"I think it's a culture that we have here in Louisiana that it's sort of accepted. But we know that it's dangerous to do this," Lee-Sheng said.

Lee-Sheng knew the numbers might come back high in the infancy of the federally funded program.

"At some point, they were at 40 to 50 percent non-compliant with our alcohol laws," she said.

Normand felt the program would yield returns because unlike years prior, every kind of business with an alcohol license was targeted. From grocery stores to hotels, no certain type of business was left out, and the bust reached both the west bank and east bank of Jefferson Parish.

"That's not to say the owners of these establishments don't have a desire to be compliant, because they rely on a third party, an employee, in order to do it," Normand said. "We're trying to work with them as much as possible to have the educational side just and everything else just to bring compliance."

The parish will pursue these types of investigations as long as the federal funding continues.

To send a message this past weekend, many of the businesses were hit in the cash register. Not only were some fined, but many were not allowed to serve alcohol for several days.

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