sells alcohol to high schoolers in Tuscaloosa

sells alcohol to high schoolers in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama Twelve people including ten minors were arrested during an undercover operation at a Tuscaloosa gas station after Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agents discovered the store’s employees were systematically selling alcohol to minors who held a ‘VIP pass.’

Dean Argo, an ABC public information officer, said the case began in late October when a parent complained to the agency her 16 year old son and several other students from a Tuscaloosa high school were regularly buying alcohol from the 15th Street Exxon at 1819 Veterans Memorial Parkway.

The mother told agents that her son had been given a special ‘VIP’ card from the gas station, and when he showed the pass at the register, he was sold alcohol without having to show any other identification, no questions asked.

The tip sparked an undercover operation, and on Nov. 21, a 17 year old undercover agent entered the store with a VIP card he’d been given by the woman who originally came to ABC with the complaint. The agent, four years too young to legally buy alcohol, showed the VIP card and was sold alcohol without being asked to verify his age in any way.

The next day, ABC agents ran another operation in the gas station, with an undercover agent behind the counter. Any time anyone who appeared younger than 21 years old tried to buy alcohol after showing a VIP pass, the agent asked for their actual driver’s licenses. Minors caught in this way were immediately arrested and taken to the Tuscaloosa County Jail.

The operation led to the arrest of 10 minors attempting to purchase alcohol, some of whom were also charged with carrying fake IDs. Court documents filed last week showed the system wasn’t just being used by high schoolers students from the University of Alabama and Auburn University were also arrested.

The store’s manager and a clerk were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with selling alcoholic beverages to minors.

Argo said in addition to the 12 arrests, fake id the licensee whose permit allows the sale of alcohol in the gas station will appear before the ABC Hearing Commission in Montgomery to determine what actions, if any, will be taken against their ABC license. That hearing will be scheduled within 60 days.

The manager and clerk, Ibrahim Razman and Wilfred Kipkoech Lagat, remained in the county jail Wednesday morning pending payment of bonds that were set at $800 each.

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