COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Several businesses in St. Tammany Parish have been cited for selling alcohol to minors. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office recently completed two undercover operations targeting Juvenile Underage Drinking Enforcement (aka, J.U.D.E.) on both sides of the parish.
Investigators sent a juvenile out to a total of 55 businesses, with the intent of buying alcohol. These compliance checks, which occurred over a two-day period involved the use of a commissioned STPSO deputy who has not reached the age of 21, the legal drinking age in Louisiana. With the holidays approaching, deputies want to ensure that alcoholic beverage outlets in St. Tammany Parish are in compliance with the state's drinking law.
Below are the results of these recent operations:
On the east side of the parish: 30 outlets were visited. Of these 30 businesses, 4 clerks were issued summonses for non-compliance.
On the west side of the parish: 25 outlets were visited. Of these 25 businesses, 11 clerks were issued summonses for non-compliance.
All of the clerks in the stores who violated the state's drinking law were issued a misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court. Penalties can result in fines of not less than $500 nor more than $1000. The clerks can also face jail time ranging anywhere from 30 days to six months behind bars.
In Louisiana, modern driver's licenses and identification cards for persons under 21 are issued in a vertical format instead of horizontal, with the words "Under 21 until" in bright red print to the right of the photo. In addition, most major chains have scanner technology installed that allow the clerk to scan the license or identification card and verify that the purchaser is of legal age.These undercover operations are conducted frequently throughout the year across the parish.
The operations are funded by a federal grant through the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.