The SLA conducted the investigation in conjunction with the New York Police Department (NYPD) between November 16 and 18. The SLA and NYPD sent underage volunteer decoys into 234 licensed groceries and liquor stores across the five boroughs.
Decoys purchased alcohol at 118 stores in the city, which included 41 of 54 in Brooklyn and 34 of 67 in Queens.
A few of the busted Brooklyn stores were SMC Incorporated in Bushwick, Abreu Super Grocery Store in Cypress Hills, and Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Wines &Liquors on Fulton Street.
Astoria’s Tony Grocery Incorporated, Star Grocery in Jamaica, and Flushing’s Queens Papa & Son Supermarket Corporation on 99th Street were among those selling liquor to minors in Queens.
“Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors is a top priority for the State Liquor Authority,” Chairman Dennis Rosen said in a statement. “These large-scale enforcement efforts will continue to be a part of our proactive measures to prevent alcohol abuse among our youth.”
Specific locations and neighborhoods found to have high activity of selling alcohol to minors were targeted by the SLA and the NYPD.
“The locations that we targeted were locations that the public had complained about selling alcohol to minors,” said an NYPD representative.
The SLA will charge civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation and fines starting from $2,500 to $3,000 for a first-time offense.
An NYPD representative said there were 49 arrests and 145 criminal court summonses issued as a result of the sweep. Offenders were charged with unlawfully dealing with a child and prohibited sale of an alcoholic beverage.
Potential suspension or revocation of licenses is also possible for repeat offenders. The investigation is part of a statewide enforcement plan to prevent underage sales to minors.
“These underage sweeps will continue, as we want to make it crystal clear to licensees, if you sell to a minor, you are putting your license in jeopardy,” said William Crowley, director of Public and Legislative Affairs for the SLA.