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Police Program Working to Curb Underage Drinking

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This sign warns customers about the sting operation
RALEIGH — Underage drinking is a big problem across the country. It's a problem North Carolina law enforcement is aggressively fighting. WRAL's LenBesthoff went along with undercover police to see how a program is workingto curb underage drinking.

Police call the program Cops in Shops. For the past four years, the stateAlcohol Law Enforcement Division and the Wake County ABC have teamed upin a joint sting operation aimed at curbing underage drinking.

The agents actually pose as store clerks and work inside a conveniencestore or supermarket, they have walkie talkies on, and they look for folksthey believe are underage and purchasing alcohol.

Wanda Tyndall, ALE agent, said agents are trained to detect situationswhere underage drinking laws are being violated.

Agents outside the stores pull over people that the undercover clerks considersuspicious. On the night Besthoff was with them, agents caught a pair ofNC State students.

Joel Keith, Wake County ABC, said the agents overheard the conversationbetween the two students before the purchase was made.

Each sting lasts about six hours. Last year, agents at one store roundedup close to 80 people.

The penalties for for helping a minor buy alcohol are stiff, you couldeven lose your driver's license.

Editor's Note:Officer Ken Pike called WRAL and said there were 34 arrests on 42 charges in Wake County on the night of Nov. 6made by the ALE. The arrests were broken down into:

  • Underage attempt to purchase - 2
  • Possession - 9
  • aiding and abetting a minor - 7
  • Purchase by a minor - 4
  • Give to a minor - 2
  • Unlawful possession (hard liquor) - 1
  • Fake ids - 4
  • Consuming while driving - 2
  • DWI - 1
  • Driving with license revoked - 1
  • Misdemeanor marijuana - 3
  • Reporter: Len Besthoff

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