By Kristen Talerico
Times West Virginian
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration conducted 26 alcohol checks, or stings, in Marion County on Wednesday night.
According to Chief Deputy Ralph Wright of the sheriff’s department, undercover officers and agents were sent to local restaurants, video poker parlors and grocery stores to see if they would sell alcohol to underage individuals.
“Out of 26 establishments, 16 of them sold alcohol to people under the age of 21,” Wright said.
He mentioned a lot of people working in these businesses will look at the ID and just hand it back to the customer.
A number of the grocery and convenience stores use a scanning system that checks to make sure the ID is valid, Wright said. He added that three actions are taken when the sale of alcohol to an individual under the age of 21 occurs:
• The person who actually sells the alcohol is cited and has a magistrate court hearing.
• The ABCA also goes after the establishment, which is cited and has to attend a hearing.
• Underage individuals are forbidden in businesses with gambling machines, which can result in a violation from the lottery commission.
Wright said in 2013 the sheriff’s department conducted a number of checks.
“After checking again in 2014, the number was a whole lot better,” Wright added.
Wright said the ABCA agents hand out flyers to every business that sells alcohol reminding them of the age it is legal to sell alcohol and the color and position of the ID appropriate for that age.
He added that some of the establishments cited during the sting operation were repeat offenders.
“With the results from (Wednesday) night, we will be targeting businesses again in the next five or six months,” Wright said.
Businesses cited for underage sale of alcohol during Wednesday’s sting operation were: Fairmont N & Out, 7-Eleven in Rivesville, Circle K in Fairview, Layman’s Hot Spot in Fairview, Harvest Moon in Fairmont, Inn at Petty John’s in Fairmont, Mountaineer Saloon in Pleasant Valley, Ridge Tavern Grill in Rivesville, Wings Ole in Fairmont, College Lunch in Fairmont, Mi Pueblo Two in Fairmont, Sports Grille Lounge in Fairmont, Fly’s Bar and Grill in Worthington, The Castle in Fairmont, The Handi Mart in Worthington and Little General Store in Barrackville.
Among the 26 stores that the sheriff’s department and ABCA checked, 10 of them correctly refused the sale of alcohol to underage individuals. Those 10 were: Rich Oil No. 3955 in Fairmont, Smoke Free Hot Spot in Farmington, Mannington Elks in Mannington, High Life Lounge 1 in White Hall, Jeanie’s in Fairmont, Go Mart No. 69 in White Hall, Katy Mart in Fairmont, Chicken Lizards in Mannington, Par Mar Store No. 24 in Fairmont and East Park Mart in Fairmont.
Email Kristen Talerico at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KTalericoTWV.