UPDATE June 2, 2023
The following are the 12 stores for which citations were issued.
ORIGINAL POST - May 30, 2023
Twelve businesses are being issued citations to appear in court for selling alcoholic beverages, vaping products, and tobacco products to an underage individual who was working as an informant for White County Sheriff’s Office.
According to White County Sheriff Steve Page, some of the 12 businesses are located within the city of Sparta. On May 31, 2023, citations to appear in court will be served on the employees of the businesses who allegedly sold the products to the underage youth.
Detectives with White County Sheriff’s Office have been compiling evidence in each case. In addition, Sheriff Page said there is a video of each purchase made by the underage youth.
“I am extremely upset,” Sheriff Page said very adamantly. “We are not going to allow these individuals to continue breaking the law by selling these items to our youth. We [at the sheriff’s office] will continue to work diligently to protect our youth.”
The sheriff also had some words of advice for parents.
“They [parents] need to pay attention to their kids,” Sheriff Page said. “They need to say [to their children], ‘You know, if you're out here buying this stuff, you're in trouble,’ or they need to ask them if they've been buying vapes and alcohol or tobacco from any of these stores because it's absolutely against the law.”
Sheriff Page said Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has been contacted about the results of “Operation: Minus 21.” Businesses who sold alcoholic beverages to the underage youth could possibly be at risk for suspension of their permits/licenses.
“All these stores are required, by law, to ask for ID, and they’re not doing it,” Sheriff Page said. “They’re just selling to whoever walks in the door. One of them has even gone as far as to say, ‘Hey, come back, and bring your buddies.’”
This is a developing story. The names of the businesses will be posted as soon as the citations have been served.
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