By Jessica Farrish
Local law enforcement officers reported that 21 stores and bars in Raleigh County were cited for selling alcohol to minors following a multi-agency sting conducted Friday night.
The legal drinking age in the state is 21.
Officers from Beckley Police Department, Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration went undercover to accompany underage buyers into 72 establishments during the sting.
The minors were told by officers to present their proper identification and to leave if the clerk or bartender refused to finish the sale.
More than a quarter of the time, minors were able to purchase alcohol, even with an ID that marked them as minors, officials reported.
“Those laws are on the books for a reason,” said Beckley Police Chief Tim Deems. “Any time you have people who are not old enough to make those sound decisions, then you add the fact that they’ve been drinking on top of that, their decision-making becomes flawed.
“Some of the things they do, like driving after they’ve been drinking, can be very dangerous,” he said. “Not only to themselves, but to others as well.
“They can also get involved in other criminal activities that maybe normally they wouldn’t have done,” he added. “You have inhibitions that are lost.”
Deems urges local businesses to follow state law when making an alcohol sale.
“It’s important that clerks pay close attention when they’re selling alcohol, that they’re not selling to people under 21 years old,” he said. “I’d encourage them to always check a person’s identification.
“You can never be too proactive in preventing alcohol from getting into the hands of minors.”
The sting was conducted as an ongoing effort by local law enforcement to target and stop the sale of alcohol to persons under 21 years of age. It was funded and coordinated by the Southern Regional Highway Safety Program and the ABCA.
Store clerks who sold alcohol illegally were charged with selling alcohol to a person under 21.
The businesses also face further fines from the ABCA.
Establishments which allegedly sold alcohol illegally were:
— Co Mac #1 – 1706 Harper Road, Beckley
— Little General Store #2480 – 4223 Robert C. Byrd Drive, Beckley
— CJ’s Tobacco Shop – 101 North Eisenhower Drive, Beckley
— Morgan’s Food and Spirits – 1924 Harper Road, Beckley
— Corner Shop – 745 S. Kanawha St., Beckley
— Giovanni’s Pizza – 7021 Harper Road, Glen Daniel
— Little General Store #2360 – 7006 Harper Road, Glen Daniel
— Muncheez Bar & Grill – 2825 Harper Road, Beckley
— J. C.’s – 866 Highway 41, Stanaford Road, Beckley
— Little General Store #275 – 2406 Harper Road, Beckley
— Galford’s Mini Mart #2 2180 Grandview Road, Beaver
— Rumors Pub – 1960 Flat Top Road, Cool Ridge
— PJ’s Bar – 1475 Flat Top Road, Cool Ridge
— Our Place or Yours – 2112 S. Fayette St., Beckley
— Gary’s Landing – 1196 Airport Road, Beaver
— Bunker’s Sports Bar – 255 Resort Drive, Daniels
— Little General Store #2180 – 762 Ritter Drive, Beaver
— Rasi’s Discount Tobacco & Liquor – 653 North Ritter Drive, Beaver
— Airport Road Shell – 1125 Airport Road, Beaver
— Grandview Shell – 2267 Grandview Road, Beaver
— Pop’s of Shady – 2825 Ritter Drive, Shady Springs