13 businesses caught selling liquor to minors

By TAYLOR

MURCHISON-

GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

During a recent alcohol compliance check operation, authorities discovered that 13 locations throughout the city were selling alcohol to underage buyers.

Through a grant secured by the BEST-4-Bristol Coalition, the Bristol Police Department, the Connecticut State Liquor Commission, and youth volunteers completed the operation on Tuesday, July 16.

The 13 confirmed locations are as follows – Bristol Liquor Outlet, 15 Memorial Blvd., Friendly Package Store, 406 Birch St., Broad Street Package Store, 369 Broad St., Bristol Wine and Spirits, 274 Middle St., Town and Country Discount Liquors, 170 Riverside Ave., Big Dollar Liquors, 874 Terryville Ave., K & S Liquor Store, 191 Park St., Nick’s Package Store, 535 Farmington Ave., Burlington Avenue Wine and Spirits, 152 Burlington Ave., Jay’s Liquor, 427 N Main St., Edgewood Wine and Spirits, 568 Jerome Ave., Nestor’s Package Store, 80 Wolcott St., and M & M Mini Market, 485 Farmington Ave.

“I don’t want to call it a success whenever we have 13 places selling to underage kids,” said Lieutenant Mark Morello, BPD community relations and internal affairs division member. “It’s a success in terms of the operation, but it’s a disappointment overall with the establishments in town.”

BEST-4-Bristol project coordinator, Christina Sanchez, explained that every year the coalition offers compliance check training to youth volunteers and coalition members. Volunteers must be 18 years old to participate, but can be trained beginning at age 16. None of the current BEST-4-Bristol youth members took part in this operation.

“We don’t use our Bristol youth for them in case they’re recognized in their own community. We got youth from another town who have been trained and then our youth go to other towns,” said Sanchez.

Morello explained that during a compliance oper

ation law enforcement agents enter the establishments with the youth volunteers, in order to oversee the purchase and transaction, and to keep the youth safe during the transaction.

All sanctions associated with the violations will be handled by the Connecticut State Liquor Commission. The Bristol Police Department will scrutinize the transactions and pedestrian traffic frequenting the thirteen establishments in violation.

Lora Rae Anderson of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection explained that once the violating establishments have been identified, the DCP will “start the compliance process with the permittees, typically starting with compliance meetings.” But, the “final outcome depends on the violations and the individual circumstances of each establishment.”

Morello said BPD conducts operations frequently, including alcohol compliance and narcotics operations. In the past, the department has conducted operations on cigarette and tobacco compliance as well, “with the focus on keeping the kids safe and keeping tobacco, narcotics, and alcohol out of kids hands.”

“I hope it sends a message that we’re out there, you’ll never know when we’ll be there checking for compliance,” said Morello. “It’s important that we don’t sell to underage kids.”