Sheriff's Department cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone.
Sheriff’s Department cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone.

A handful of underage teenagers helped the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department with a sting operation in North County, deputies said on Saturday. Five citations were written to help the sheriff’s department and state liquor agents combat underage drinking.

Sheriff’s deputies, ABC agents and six minor decoys pulled off “Minor Decoy” and “Shoulder Tap” operations in Encinitas, Vista, Fallbrook, San Marcos, Poway and Ramona between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Friday. The “Minor Decoy” operation involved minors testing 20 retail stores by trying to buy alcoholic beverages. Employees at two businesses sold alcohol to the minors, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Williams.

The “Shoulder Tap” operation had teens ask 30 adults to buy alcohol for them outside of local liquor stores. Williams said three adults who bought alcohol for the teens were arrested for furnishing alcohol to minors — a misdemeanor.

Williams said the ABC-related operations will continue through June 2016, thanks to a $100,000 grant the departments received to reduce youth access to alcohol.

The Sheriff’s Department asks anyone with information on licensed liquor establishments providing alcohol to minors to call the Sheriff’s Department non-emergency line at (858)565-5200, or, Crime Stoppers at (888)580-8477, for those wish to remain anonymous.

— City News Service