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Investigation: teen buys booze

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DENHAM SPRINGS - Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs among youth in the United States, responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

In a WBRZ investigation, News Two went undercover with state agents to Denham Springs stores to see how they make sure underage teens aren't getting their hands on alcohol.

Alcohol & Tobacco Control hired an undercover 18-year-old to enter stores and attempt to buy alcohol. Equipped with a spy camera, the undercover teen entered 12 locations.

ATC Special Agent Jeff Barthelemy is the agent in charge of this investigation.

"If the clerk asks for identification, our operatives are instructed to provide the ID for them," said Barthelemy. "They show their legal identification, at times the clerk does what they're supposed to do. They turn away their 18-year-old or underage."

But three locations News Two visited never checked the teen's ID.

"I guess my clerk forgot to ID one of the attendants," said assistant manager Ardus Smith. "I guess he was under 18."

The clerk and the store manager was fined. Fines start at 250 dollars and increase, depending on the number of offenses. State-wide compliance checks are done on a monthly basis. The checks monitor what businesses are following the rules, and which ones are not.

The alcohol obtained in our investigation will be destroyed. ATC agents say they will follow up with those businesses who failed our compliance checks within the month.

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