Monterey County

Salinas businesses busted for selling to minors aim to make changes

Parents, advocates react to ABC bust

SALINAS, Calif. - Undercover agents bust several local markets, for selling alcohol to minors.  Now some of those stores are taking steps to fix the problem.  Local alcohol and drug prevention non-profit Sun Street Centers offers a road to recovery for those who are addicted.  But it also reaches out to businesses, hoping to prevent alcohol from reaching young hands before it's too late.

"I mean you know as parent, we're always taking the precautions of making sure our kids aren't drinking. And knowing that in a store they would be able to somehow have access to alcohol, it's a scary feeling," said mom Sara Sanchez

Sanchez said she's disappointed to hear her local CVS store was one of four cited on July 19 for selling alcohol to a minor during an undercover decoy operation by the state.  Eight businesses were investigated for selling to minors.

NewsChannel 5 went to talk to those stores to get answers.  A manager at CVS said its doing its own internal investigation and the employee who made the sale is off duty.  MJ Market told us an employee checked the decoy's ID and unintentionally sold the alcohol by miscalculating the age.  There was no manager to speak with at La Marketa or Rodeo Market.  Sun Street Centers said it also works to keep local businesses in check.

"So they're planning to go around to businesses and checking out how much signage there is," said Sun Street Centers prevention coordinator Jorge Rubio.

Signs advertising alcohol sales are a big issue as well.  Sun Street said businesses aren't allowed to have signs covering more than 25 percent of their front windows.

"So if they have more than that, we go and talk to them and we also hand out brochures, we hand out fliers," Rubio said.

The worst part Sun Street said in the U.S., 80,000 teens are dying each year because of alcohol related accidents.

"It surprises me cause like I mentioned they've carded me.  So I would assume you know they card everybody," Sanchez said.

The owners at all four could face a $250 fine and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.

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