ABC Decoy Operation Press Release

MORE INFORMATION CALL: Cathedral City Police (760) 770-0300

Issuing Employee: Sergeant Nick Chapman – 760-202-2487 – nchapman@cathedralcity.gov 
Type of Case: Sales of Alcohol to Minor / Cases #1911C-4946, 1911C-4953 & 1911C-4960

Date/Time Reported: November 21, 2019 / 12:00 PM

Location of Occurrences: Carniceria Rancho Grande, 68300 Ramon Rd, Cathedral City
Outpost Market, 68171 Ramon Rd, Cathedral City
7-Eleven, 67510 Ramon Rd, Cathedral City

The Cathedral City Police Department Special Operation Section along with Agents of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have arrested three individuals  for selling alcohol to a minor on November 20, 2019. The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors under the direct supervision of department agents, attempted to purchase alcohol from several retail licensees in the City of Cathedral City.

Claudia Guzman, 27, of Desert Hot Springs, John Sgourmitis, Jr, 57, of Cathedral City and Xavier Oceguda, 19, of Yucca Valley were arrested after completing the act of selling an alcoholic beverage to a minor while working in the capacity of a clerk at the above referenced locations. All three were issued notices to appear and were cite/released in the field.

Those who sell to minors face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.  In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor.  That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license. ABC is conducting the compliance checks statewide to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors.  Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.

Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s.  When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent.  When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below.

In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) through the department’s Grant Assistance Program.

ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

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