Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Booze Busts

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BATON ROUGE - State Alcohol and Tobacco Control say the summer months are prime for underage drinking. In their first month of their Summer Crackdown, ATC issued 331 violations for underage alcohol and tobacco sales.

"There's nothing good that can come out of selling alcohol to minors and we want to make sure it's not happening under our watch," said Commissioner Troy Hebert.

This is ATC's second year participating in Summer Crackdown. Since it began on June 2, ATC agents have conducted about 2,400 compliance checks on businesses around the state.

Hebert said ATC agents sent a 17-year-old operative into an establishment, and attempted to purchase an alcoholic beverage or tobacco product. In Baton Rouge alone, 54 citations were issued. Denham Springs, Donaldsonville, Gonzales and Port Allen failed a handful of checks, each. BREC golf courses, which recently began serving alcohol, failed a check at Dumas Golf Course in Baker.

Hebert also said restaurants are on his radar.

"Most of your restaurants have bars," said Hebert. "Certainly that is a prime spot and I believe it's a weak spot."

More than a dozen restaurants were cited in Baton Rouge. The operative either ordered a drink at the bar, or a table in the dining area.

Hebert said while most businesses are doing their job and checking, 15 percent continue to violate the law. Some employees check for identification and serve the minor anyway.

"I think they just been kind of laxed," he said. "Hopefully this is going to wake them up. Just because you're a restaurant that doesn't mean you won't be checked by ATC."

Businesses caught selling alcohol or tobacco to underage people face fines and other penalties that could affect their alcohol and tobacco permits.



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