East Palo Alto police arrested four persons on Monday for allegedly providing alcoholic beverages to juveniles, the department announced on Wednesday.
The department arrested Jean George Khabbaz, 46, Talena Fort, 24 and Erik Resendiz-Nava, 24, all of East Palo Alto, and Cirilo Rodriquez-Loya of Menlo Park after they purchased alcohol for a juvenile who was a police decoy. Under the Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation, a minor who is under direct supervision of a police officer stands outside a liquor or convenience store and asks patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates they are underage and cannot buy the alcohol, police said.
Adults who purchase the alcohol for minors are arrested and cited and could be fined a minimum of $1,000 and do 24 hours of community service if convicted.
The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors, police said. Juveniles have a higher rate of DUI crashes than adults and youths under the influence who tend to engage in increased criminal conduct, according to studies, the department said.
According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death, police noted.
The Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's Education and Teen Alcohol Enforcement Program grant, which is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.