Juneau clerks caught in alcohol sting

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Ten clerks at eight Juneau businesses sold alcohol to underage purchasers in a sting begun last week by the police department and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Misdemeanor charges against the clerks are pending, said Ed Kalwara, Juneau investigator for the ABC Board. Violation notices will go to all of the stores, which could lead to sanctions including revocation of liquor licenses.

Kalwara said investigators checked 30 businesses over a five-day period that began May 24. Kmart, Fred Meyer, Oaken Keg, The Hangar, the Red Dog Saloon, Deharts Liquor Store, Fisherman's Bend and Budget Liquor sold alcohol to underage purchasers, Kalwara said.

Police started checking liquor stores and moved onto more complicated checks at area bars, he said. Police didn't go after particular businesses, he said.

''There was not a map,'' Kalwara told the Juneau Empire. ''We decided to start with the liquor stores so that the agents involved could become accustomed to the operation.''

According to Kalwara, three clerks at Kmart and two at Fred Meyer sold alcohol to the 18- to 20-year-olds involved in the operation. The youths carried their own identification cards and were told to produce them if a clerk asked. Kalwara said clerks either did not ask for identification or failed to check the date carefully.

The timing of such operations is based largely on the availability of funding, Kalwara said. The sting was especially timely, he said, because seniors at Juneau-Douglas High School are graduating next weekend. Graduation parties often include illegal alcohol consumption, he said, and law enforcement officials pay close attention to high school revelers.

During a similar operation in Fairbanks earlier this month, police checked 23 bars and liquor stores and 12 sold alcohol to underage purchasers. In Anchorage, five of 50 checked businesses did so.

Juneau police last ran a similar sting in 1997. All 11 businesses checked reviewed the identification of the underage youths who attempted to purchase alcohol.

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