TABC steps up enforcement as start of school gets closer - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TABC steps up enforcement as start of school gets closer

(source: KCBD video) (source: KCBD video)

Agents with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are out in force this month.

Their objective is to make sure bars, restaurants and stores that are licensed to sell alcohol are following the law.

Part of that is ensuring these businesses don't sell to minors- which they monitor through undercover stings.

These are taking place more frequently as the start of school gets closer.

Basically a minor goes in to try and buy alcohol, and if the business sells to that minor, the TABC agents will intervene.

“A successful minor sting to us is to visit 12 to 15 or so locations and have no sales. That’s what our goal is,” TABC Regional Supervisor, Major Mark Menn, said.

Thursday afternoon we traveled across Lubbock with the undercover team to ten different TABC licensed locations.

A 16 year old girl walked into each of the businesses, accompanied not far behind by some undercover TABC agents to ensure her safety, but also to keep watch on the interaction.

“We’re ten times more likely, statistically, to detect a violation through undercover operations than through just walking in and doing an open inspection and announcing our presence,” Major Menn said.

Major Menn says although this is undercover, the TABC is transparent with all of the licensed businesses and lets them know these minor stings could happen at any time.

He says the process is very straightforward, and the minor does not try to trick the employees.

“We don’t allow any type of coercion or pleading on the part of the minor. It is an open, above board attempt for them to go to a cooler or to a bucket, grab some alcoholic beverages, put them on the counter, if they’re asked how old they are they have to say I’m 16, I’m 17. If they’re asked for their ID they have an ID on them and they have to present it. It is their actual ID showing them to be under 21,” he said.

None of the businesses served the minor during this sting, which is exactly what the TABC agents like to see.

“We feel confident that these minor stings are a way for us to really gauge compliance. Incidentally we generally have statewide about a 90% compliance rate. We know that the vast majority of the people we regulate want to do the right thing. They want their employees to be on their toes and they don’t want to violate the law,” Major Menn said.

Major Menn says if there is a violation during one of these stings, the business could face different consequences such as a fine or an eight day suspension of their permit.

Any potential criminal charges would be determined by the D.A.’s office.

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