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California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control launches investigation into underage drinking

“We are going to hold people accountable."
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Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 01:50:37-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is cracking down on underage drinking in a statewide operation to demonstrate the serious consequences for adults and businesses that furnish alcohol to minors.

According to California Highway Patrol, when officers arrived on scene of a two-car crash that occurred on July 28, 2021, on Jewetta Avenue and Amy Way, 20-year-old Jacob Ozuna was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence after the car he was driving hit another car head-on, injuring two women.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control opened a Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies also known as TRACE investigation into the source of the alcohol and said the purchase was made before the crash at a Bakersfield business.

“We observed two minors going into the location, one male, one female. The male did purchase two alcoholic beverages from the on-duty clerk that was working there, and they did not request identification or their age at the time of purchase,” said Brandon Shotwell, Supervising Agent with Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

It was at Play Fair Market on South Union Street in Bakersfield where Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents obtained surveillance video and other evidence of a store clerk allegedly selling alcohol to a minor.

“At the time they observed another furnishing of alcohol to a minor at the location itself, a different clerk, on a different day, furnished alcohol to a minor.”

Shotwell said to-date, agents have discovered two incidents that have occurred at this location.

“We are going to hold people accountable for furnishing alcohol to a minor, whether it’s the employee or whether it’s the business itself. We will take both criminal and administrative action and will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen in a future.”

On February 22, agents posted a suspension prohibiting alcohol sales at the store for 30 days.

“The business can keep alcohol on site but are required to take necessary steps to make sure it is not sold.”

We briefly talked to the owner who says the business is not closed because of the suspension but they are closed for maintenance.”

ABC said the business can resume alcohol sales on March 24.

“Once the 30-day suspension is over obviously they are able to go back into the business and sell alcohol. If, in fact, another TRACE investigation determines they furnished alcohol to another minor that resulted in great bodily injury or death, then we would look at increase the suspension and look at revocation of their license.”

Shotwell said since 2020, there have been 59 minor DUI fatalities in the state and through the agencies TRACE investigations and operation shoulder tap, the agency is working hard across the state to reduce the number of deaths and take action against persons or businesses who furnish alcohol to a minor.