Operation Dry Spring
Published March 15th, 2013
During spring break Alachua County deputies are cracking down on underage drinking. Going after both the drinkers and the sellers.
In an exclusive report, we show you how deputies busted stores selling booze to kids.
We took our cameras undercover while convenience stores were put to the test.
Would a clerk sell alcohol to an underage "decoy"?
Philip Joseph Mauldin is a school resource officer with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
He was there during "Operation Dry Spring" to make sure the decoys were safe and to witness if a crime was committed.
"We are not going to use any fake ID's. They are just going to go up and ask for alcohol. They will go around the stores. They will try to pick up anything they can possibly can. They will act like they are trying to be adults and then they will go up to counter and try to purchase it," said Mauldin.
The undercover individuals trying to buy the alcohol were two young members of the Explorers program.
Nineteen- year- old Chris Reul said most clerks asked him for identification.
"When I actually told them how old I was; I told them I was 19 I didn't lie to them, They were surprised that I actually when in there and told them my real age and then they told me I couldn't buy the product," said Reul.
In most cases he came out empty handed, but not at this Kangaraoo station on Williston Road.
"I just walked in there, he rung it up and then he didn't even ask me for my ID. He just told me it was the price and then he let me leave," said Reul.
The crew checked 16 places and four were busted.
No one was arrested, but they did receive sworn complaints for the criminal charges.
The stores that were busted will have penalties placed on their liquor licenses.
"We try to work hand in hand without he businesses. Not only do we fine the businesses, but sometimes we help the businesses by finding out what their employees are actually doing," said Mauldin.
The main goal is to make sure no alcoholic beverages land in the wrong hands.
"We are just trying to prevent, especially during spring break, drinking and driving, underage drinking, having parties, getting into a lot of mischief," said Mauldin.
Possibly ending up with something much worse than a sworn complaint.
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