4 people accused of buying minors alcohol in ‘Shoulder Tap’ sting

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VISTA, Calif. -- San Diego County sheriff's deputies on Saturday cited four people as part of a "shoulder tap" operation aimed at stopping adults from illegally buying alcohol for minors, a sheriff's official said Sunday.

FOX 5 photojournalist Christian Grow rode along to learn more about the operation.

Sheriff's deputies and agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control ran the sweep from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at six stores in the Vista area, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Decoys told customers entering the stores they were underage, and asked the customers to buy alcohol for them, while undercover deputies and agents waited nearby.

The decoys contacted a total of 27 people as part of the operation, and ultimately cited four people on suspicion of furnishing alcohol to a minor.

"The goal of the Shoulder Tap operation is to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors, as well as preventing impaired driving crashes by arresting/citing adults who furnish alcohol to minors," the Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

Anyone convicted of providing alcohol to someone under 21 can face up to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000 and 24 hours of community service.

Saturday's operation was part of a $100,000 grant from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Money from the grant will be used for alcohol enforcement and to educate business with liquor licenses "to make communities safer," the Sheriff's Department said.

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