Undercover operation targets alcohol violations in Union County - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Undercover operation targets alcohol violations in Union County

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INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) -

Some watched convenient stores from a distance. Others blended in at bars. They all had one thing in common: working undercover checking for alcohol violations.

Agents with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Alcohol Law Enforcement {Charlotte District} spent Friday night in the Indian Trail area of Union County because they say there's been a lot of traffic near the ABC store, and a lot of minors are trying to buy alcohol at other establishments.   

Agents say they don't  take it lightly.

Agent Omar Qureshi, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge, says they "try to reduce the amount of alcohol to underage people obtaining alcohol, try to reduce dwi's before they happen , try to reduce fatality, try to prevent over service of alcohol. We do see the significance of preventing a fatality. We tell kids if you get a $205 ticket for drinking underage, it's a lot cheaper than your parents burying you."

Shortly after the undercover operation started, agents noticed some young people exchanging money at a business. Agents followed the teens as they drove away from the establishment. They say the driver couldn't stay in his lanes so agents "stopped them, discovered they were drinking, found liquor and beer in the car and they were underage." Agents say the three young men in the car were not drunk, "probably .02 – not very high on the list – but for an underage person – its gotta be zero – zero tolerance".

A 21 year old in the car received a citation for aiding and abetting an underage to purchase alcohol. Two minors in the car are looking at citations of more than $200 for underage consumption.

Agents say they don't see too many people intentionally sell to minors. They say "there are a lot of good fake i-d's out there that kids are using that's causing it to happen."

Alcohol Law Enforcement agents say they're seeing a lot of over service of alcohol - and it doesn't matter the age. Agent Qureshi says "I think a lot of bartenders are misinformed that if somebody has a designated driver or is walking home, they think it's ok to over-serve them. We tell them it's not. It may not happen at the bar or may not drive a car – other things can happen."

 Agents are out every night. They say a couple of time a month they team up for undercover operations. The Charlotte District covers seven counties around the Queen City. Agents say where they go depends on what local law enforcement and residents tell them.

The job isn't easy.

"We'll violate a business or arrest someone affiliated with the business and it's not a surprise to see them open again - whether it's under a different name, different trade name or different corporate name - it does happen", says Agent Qureshi.

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