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Five cited in alcohol sweep
Authorities say stores were selling to minors
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Forsyth County News

Five of the 18 businesses visited during a recent undercover sweep by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office were cited for underage alcohol sales.

According to the sheriff’s office, the effort was part of a compliance check.

The five stores cited include: Food Mart No. 3, 6045 Atlanta Hwy.; Rio Balsas, 1495 Dahlonega Hwy.; Cumming Food Mart, 3275 Dahlonega Hwy.; Walgreens, 3290 Keith Bridge Road; and Chevron, 4325 Browns Bridge Road.

Rio Balsas received an additional citation for an employee serving alcohol without an alcohol sales permit, a violation of a county ordinance.

Sheriff’s Maj. Rick Doyle, director of operations, said the agency plans to put a greater focus on deterring underage sales.

“We want to make sure our businesses are responsible in selling alcohol,” Doyle said. “A successful operation is when we can go out and visit 25 businesses and have 25 do exactly what they’re supposed to do.”

Sheriff Duane Piper noted the timing of the effort, as the agency sees a rise in incidents involving underage drinking “as prom season, graduation and warmer weather approach.”

“Selling and serving alcohol is a big responsibility, and we expect businesses to take preventing underage drinking seriously,” Piper said.

The sheriff’s office regularly checks all businesses in the county that are licensed to sell alcohol.

During an operation, Doyle said the agency will send in an underage person under the supervision of one or more undercover deputies to attempt to buy alcohol.

The “operatives” often are criminal justice students, he said. When a citation is issued, the alcohol is returned to the store and a refund is provided.

Those issued citations are required to appear in Magistrate Court.

If found guilty, the businesses and employees will also be subject to county ordinance penalties, which can lead to suspension or loss of their business licenses or sales permits.

The county requires all people involved in selling or serving alcohol to obtain a server’s license through the sheriff’s office permits and ordinance unit, which is on the second floor at 475 Tribble Gap Road in Cumming.