UPDATE 9:45 p.m. -- The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control's summer crackdown found 28 of 173 checked businesses serving alcohol and tobacco to minors, ranging from restaurants down to convenience stores.
"That's probably about an average for around the state, that about 15%-20% of the businesses not adhering to the law, but then again the good news is 80% is," said ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert.
ATC agents said during the checks, they send in 17-year-old operatives to try to buy drugs or alcohol.
Amber Flores is affiliated with a restaurant on the violations list.
She didn't want to say which one, but she said ATC tried too hard to trick them.
"It would have been a different scenario if the person that they sent in was underage. He wasn't. He was clearly over age," Flores said.
Flores also said the operative was very persistent.
"We were given an ID that was expired and the customer was very persistent that if we didn't serve alcohol that they wouldn't return, they would slander our restaurant name for not having good customer service," she said.
A server on the violations list from the Bangkok Spice Restaurant in West Monroe, Shandy Praxaybane, wrote on our KTVE/KARD Facebook page on the matter, saying: "I've never intentionally sold to a minor though. That girl's license looked like 1992 to me and it was 1997. It was my fault for not going with my gut since the year was unclear. Her I.D. had the state capital picture go right through the last digit (says the agent who issued me the ticket) so that's how they try to get you."
Hebert said there's no trick when it comes to an underage drinker.
"Their IDs are actually vertical. They're not horizontal, so there's really no excuse for a server or a waiter or waitress to not identify somebody under the age of 21 just looking at their driver's license," he said.
ATC agents issued 30 administrative citations and 12 criminal summons in the parish.
"We can revoke or suspend their permit. They're going to face anywhere from a $500 fine upwards to $25,000 fine," Hebert said.
Flores said their restaurant has a new policy where the manager now reviews all IDs.
In the end, ATC agents said the crackdown is to protect minors in the area.
"When they sell to a minor, God forbid that individual would actually leave that establishment and kill themselves or somebody else," said Hebert.
"Our waiter, he felt the pressure and he gave in to it," Flores said. "It wasn't the right choice, clearly, but I don't think that we were fairly represented based on what actually happened."
Flores said their business is still waiting for their citation in the mail and they won't protest it.
ATC agents said administrative hearings will be held on the violations.
ATC agents issued a total of 30 administrative citations and 12 criminal summonses. The following businesses and individuals received violations:
3. Genghis Grill;
4. El Jarrito Mexican Grill;
5. Bangkok Spice Restaurant;
6. Coyote Trails;
8. El Chilie Verde Mexican Restaurant;
12. Rawz Café;
13. Monagos Field House;
14. El Chile Verde of
15. The Fish House; 8823 Hwy 165,
16. Fiesta Linda Mexican Restaurant; 8649 Hwy 165 N,
17. EZ Mart Store #114; 338 Hwy 594,
18. Fil A Sak; 1420 Martin Luther King Jr., Monroe (Seller: Sanjoy Manandhar)
19. LLL Stop N Shop #2; 820, Martin Luther King Jr., Monroe (Seller: Reymark Laniog)
20. Delta Mini Mart #10;
21. Central Station #322;
22. Raceway #6863;
23. Discount Tobacco Outlet #30;
24. Joey's Stop & Go LLC; 2400 Old Sterlington Rd., Monroe (Seller: Mohamed Almuplahi)
25. Delta Mini Mart #13;
26. Arena Billards;
27. Super 1 Foods #602;
28. Mohawks Tavern;
"Undercover ATC agents, along with trained 17 year old operatives, conducted unannounced compliance checks of businesses that sell and serve alcohol and tobacco products to determine whether they are following state laws," said Commissioner Troy Hebert. "This is part of ATC’s summer crackdown. I would like to commend the 80% percent of businesses that are doing the right thing," Hebert added.
Administrative hearings will be held on the violations. The businesses and servers face penalties ranging from fines up to suspension or revocation of their alcoholic beverage permits. You can find a full list of businesses and servers issued violations in the last three years on our website, www.atc.la.gov.
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