SLA Targets 647 Locations in Statewide Sweeps, Charges 184 Licensees with Selling to Minors
DMV Makes 112 Arrests and Confiscates 127 Fake IDs
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the final results of joint efforts by the State Liquor Authority and Department of Motor Vehicles to combat underage drinking through crackdowns that took place from March 4 through the end of April. During this enforcement effort, SLA underage decoys visited 647 establishments – 184 of which made illegal sales, while DMV enforcement operations confiscated 127 fake IDs and netted 112 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to purchase alcohol.
"Underage drinking can lead to bad decisions that could lead to potentially lifelong consequences," Governor Cuomo said. "This administration has zero tolerance for reckless and irresponsible behavior, and by working together with local law enforcement, this state continues to take proactive measures to crack down on underage drinking and those who enable it."
Working with underage decoys, SLA investigators conducted operations with the New York State Police, local law enforcement, and DMV investigators across the state. From March 21 through the end of April, SLA details visited 308 locations, with 92 businesses listed here illegally selling to minors. This is in addition to the 339 locations visited and 92 businesses charged with selling to a minor announced by the Governor on March 29.
Additionally over the past two weeks, DMV’s Division of Field Investigation conducted enforcement operations with the Village of Brockport Police Department, the New Paltz Police Department, the New York State Police and the City of Cortland Police Department to conduct Operation Prevent sweeps at dozens of establishments across the state.
- Brockport: April 21 – DMV investigators and police netted seven arrests of underage patrons attempting to use fraudulent driver licenses to purchase alcohol or enter bars. Five of those arrested possessed another New York State driver’s license, and two fraudulent licenses allegedly from New Jersey and Ohio were recovered. Investigators and police officers seized documents and made arrests at the Merchant Street Smokehouse and the Red Jug Pub, both located within the Village of Brockport.
- Hempstead: April 21 – DMV investigators and police visited Bangers, La Villa Lounge and Gutavo Bar. Two fake documents allegedly from Maryland were seized, two individuals were arrested for possessing a fraudulent driver license and one summons for open container was issued.
- New Paltz: April 22 – DMV investigators and police netted 14 arrests with 10 documents recovered. Investigators visited Oasis, McGillicuddy’s, P & G’s, Murphy’s and Bangkok Café. Fake IDs allegedly from Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois were confiscated, and two individuals were also arrested for criminal impersonation.
- City of Rochester: April 28 – DMV investigators and police visited Pearl Nightclub, Vinyl, One Nightclub and Filgers East End, all located within the East and Alexander Street entertainment district in the city. All premises checked were found to be in compliance with no violators identified.
- City of Cortland: April 29 – DMV investigators and police netted six arrests, seizing six fraudulent driver licenses allegedly from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Premise checks were conducted at the Dark Horse Tavern, Red Jug, Stone Lounge, Hairy Tony’s and Brix Pubaria.
DMV's Operation Prevent investigations are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to deter underage drinking and keep New York’s roadways safe. The investigations are conducted all year long, not only at bars and drinking establishments, but also at concerts, events, or wherever underage patrons are likely to gather.
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.
"Ensuring the safety of our communities and roadways by cracking down on underage drinking is a top priority for this administration," said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. "By partnering with the DMV and local law enforcement, we’re intensifying our efforts to reduce incidences of underage drinking and the use of fake identification."
"Mixing drinking and driving is a deadly cocktail, particularly when infused with youth and inexperience, which is why we at DMV and our law enforcement partners are so determined to prevent underage drinking and impaired driving," said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. "Operation Prevent is a year-round initiative, but this effort is critically important during graduation season and the summer months, when underage drinking tends to spike. We will continue to do all we can to help keep our roadways safe for everyone."
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. 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.