March 29, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Major Progress in Statewide Crackdown on Underage Drinking

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Major Progress in...

State Liquor Authority Charges 92 Licensees With Selling to Minors

Department of Motor Vehicles Makes 83 Arrests, Confiscates 92 Fake IDs




Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the initial results of the State Liquor Authority and Department of Motor Vehicles joint efforts to combat underage drinking. On March 2, the Governor announced operations running through April to deploy Enforcement Investigators to over 500 licensed locations throughout New York.  At the halfway mark into the statewide crackdown, SLA underage buyers have already visited 339 establishments, finding 92 locations making illegal sales. Additionally, DMV enforcement operations have resulted in 83 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to purchase alcohol and confiscated 92 fake IDs.

"Underage drinking is illegal, reckless, and can have life-altering consequences, and this crackdown is holding accountable those who seek to enable this dangerous behavior," Governor Cuomo said. "Using this multi-pronged approach, we will help keep our communities safe, our college campuses secure and our roadways free from drunk drivers."

SLA investigators, working with underage buyers, conducted operations in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Western New York, with DMV investigators joining the SLA during inspections in Western New York, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley. The list of the 92 businesses making sales to minors is available by county here.

In addition to assisting in SLA operations, DMV’s Division of Field Investigation worked with the Albany Police Department, the Cortland Police Department, the New Paltz Police Department and the Hempstead Village Police Department to conduct Operation Prevent sweeps at dozens of establishments across the state.  

  • Albany: March 4 – DMV investigators and police netted 25 arrests of underage patrons attempting to use fraudulent driver licenses to purchase alcohol or enter bars. Investigators and police officers seized documents and made arrests at Sabatino’s Liquor Store on Quail Street, the Barrel Saloon on Broadway, and the Pearl Street Pub on North Pearl Street.  Fake IDs allegedly from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Illinois were confiscated.  Ten recovered documents involved individuals using someone else’s driver license, while 15 other fake IDs were confiscated during this operation.
  • Cortland: March 4 – DMV investigators and police netted 37 arrests with 49 documents recovered. Investigators visited the Dark Horse Tavern, the Red Jug Pub, the Stone Lounge, Woodman’s Pub, Gringo’s Roadhouse and Brix Pubario.  Fake IDs allegedly from Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Maryland and Maine were confiscated.  Three were arrested for using someone else’s driver license.
  • New Paltz: March 10 – DMV investigators and police netted 16 arrests with 13 documents recovered.  Investigators visited Murphy’s, Shea O’Brien’s, Snug Harbor, Schatzi’s Pub, Bacchus, McGillicuddy’s Restaurant and Tap House, P & G’s Restaurant and Bar, Bangkok Café, and Joe’s East West.  Fake IDs allegedly from Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut were confiscated. 
  • Hempstead: March 17 – DMV investigators and police netted five arrests with five documents recovered during an operation at Bangerz in Hempstead.  Fake IDs allegedly from New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Connecticut were confiscated.

Licensees charged with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting from $2,500 to $3,000 for a first time offense. Repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses.  Persons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent of purchasing alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year.

State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "We have a responsibility to make sure that businesses are following the law and are not endangering the safety of our communities or young New Yorker’s by serving underage persons. By partnering with the DMV, we are sending a message to both businesses making illegal sales and minors who attempt to use fake IDs that this behavior will not be tolerated."    

DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "By creating new partnerships and strengthening existing ones, our investigators are helping to make New York State a safer place for motorists. Our Operation Prevent initiative is a year-round initiative that involves multiple partners engaged in the practice of underage drinking prevention.  I thank Governor Cuomo, our partners in law enforcement and the State Liquor Authority for their continued support for this potentially lifesaving initiative."

In December, Governor Cuomo announced that underage drinking sweeps conducted by DMV investigators, in cooperation with SLA and law enforcement agencies, resulted in the single year record of 862 fraudulent licenses seized and the arrest of 818 underage individuals. Additionally, the SLA issued 1,077 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales in 2016, while increasing the number of trainings under the Alcohol Training Awareness Program (ATAP).  The number of ATAP trainings, a program designed to curb underage drinking and sales to intoxicated patrons, increased from 5,803 in 2011, to 19,781 in 2016, including over 500 business owners and more than 750 employees receiving free ATAP training hosted by the SLA in collaboration with the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office