TABC plans undercover stings at alcohol-selling businesses

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Undercover operations at thousands of alcohol retailers will test to see if the businesses sell to those under 21.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced Monday it will conduct these "minor stings" throughout August and September, just in time for students to return to colleges and universities throughout the state. They will test bars, restaurants, convenience stores and liquor stores in communities near the schools.

During the operation, TABC will have someone under 21 try to buy alcohol. If they are able to purchase it, the business and its employees could face administrative and even possible criminal charges, according to a TABC release.

"Our retailers take the lead in preventing alcohol from falling into the hands of minors," said TABC Executive Chief Robert Saenz. "This year, as in years past, we're urging all retailers to make sure their employees have the tools they need to ensure anyone who purchases alcohol is of legal age to do so."

During a similar series of stings last year, TABC reports it went undercover at 1,337 businesses -- finding violations with 10 percent of those retailers.

The agency also conducts undercover operations throughout the year. Over the past 12 months, it found 1,333 violations. Most of those were from off-premise retailers such as convenience stores.

TABC is expected to release this year's back-to-school enforcement numbers at the end of September.


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