Investigators with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement Division recently teamed up with the Cleveland Police Department to conduct alcohol and beer compliance checks in Cleveland, which resulted in the issuance of five citations for selling alcohol or tobacco to minors and five citations issued to minors in possession of alcohol.
“Retailers who choose to sell alcohol and tobacco to minors are sending a message to our youth that it is acceptable to break the law,” Hood said.
“This message not only promotes irresponsible consumption of alcohol to our minors, it also increases the number of our young ones who get behind the wheel after drinking. The lives of our children and loved ones are at risk whenever alcohol consumption and driving are mixed.”
On March 9, the following businesses received citations when checked for compliance on selling alcohol or tobacco to minors: Z- MART, 210 N. MLK Drive, 3 VIOLATIONS; CLEVELAND GAS MART, 309 E. Sunflower Road, 1 VIOLATION; and SUPER SAVE #18, 716 E. Sunflower Road, 1 VIOLATION.
Five violations were issued at On The Rocks, 717 E. Sunflower Road, to five individuals for minor in possession of alcohol.
Attorney General Jim Hood and Cleveland Police Chief Charles "Buster" Bingham caution Cleveland retailers that illegally selling to minors will result in a stout fine to the State.
If you are caught and continue to sell, you can lose your permit to sell and face a fine of $1,000-$2,000, and up to a year in jail.
“We would like to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their efforts in helping us with curtailing sales of alcohol and tobacco to underage individuals,” Bingham said. “We will continue to target individuals who try to profit from sales of tobacco and especially alcohol to underage kids.
“I wish to thank the Attorney General’s Office and their investigators for all that they do for us. When we have called for assistance they have never failed to promptly come in and help us.”
“We appreciate the longstanding commitment and support of Chief Bingham and his department. They have been leaders and have fought on the front line with high vigilance against underage drinking, in this college town,” Hood said. “Our office will continue to partner with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as we all remain dedicated to protecting our youth from the harmful effects tobacco and alcohol use can have in our communities.”
The Attorney General’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Division provides training for staff and management of any retail establishment which sells alcohol. Attorney General Hood urges business owners and managers to contact the office and ask for on-site training.
“Our investigators conduct retail training to educate and train owners and employees in proper identification of underage youth as well as state laws governing the sale of alcohol and tobacco products,” Hood said. “We recognize that proper training of clerks is an important component in reducing the availability of age restricted products to minors.”
During the past fiscal year, the Attorney General’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit has conducted more than 6,600 alcohol compliance checks with a 3.12% buy rate across the state. Additionally, the division conducted 223 retailer training sessions with 475 retailer clerks in attendance.