Several businesses caught selling to minor |

Several businesses caught selling to minor

Eight of 12 Craig businesses sold alcohol to underage person during recent 'sting'

Christina M. Currie

Of 12 Craig businesses targeted by a law enforcement sting, eight were caught selling alcohol to minors.

The Craig Police Department and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Department recently conducted a compliance check of several liquor establishments in Craig. The goal was to prevent the purchase and consumption of alcohol by underage buyers.

“It’s more of an issue where we’re just trying to raise the level of compliance,” said Lt. John Forgay, public information officer with the Craig Police Department. “We’re not seeing a downturn in the number of underage people we’re contacting partying or consuming alcohol. This is one of the ways we’re trying to curb that.”

Employees at the north Kum and Go, west Kum and Go, Gofer Foods, Mini Market, Stockman’s Liquor, Safeway, City Market and Kawliga’s Tavern and Grill were all cited for selling alcohol to an underage person. Dark Horse Liquors, Loadout Liquors, east Kum and Go and Cork and Bottle Liquors were all commended for refusing to sell to an underage buyer.

Employees that sold the alcohol were cited, but the business is ultimately responsible, Forgay said.

“Technically, the business has the responsibility to see its employees follow the rules,” he said.

This is the second undercover alcohol sting in two years. The last took place in November 1997 when officers sent an underage subject, under supervision and observation by law enforcement officers, into a licensed liquor establishment and attempted to buy alcohol. The results of the previous operation were negative with a majority of businesses selling to an underage buyer.

“I’d have to say we were disappointed because we just did this two years ago,” Forgay said. “We just hoped it would be the other way.”

The key, Forgay said, is to encourage businesses to be in the habit of asking for identification when anyone purchases alcohol.

“It’s really their responsibility under their license to do that,” he said. “That’s really all we’re trying to impress upon them is that they need to do that.”

Forgay is not sure what impacts the citations will have on the ability of a business to renew its liquor license. No one was available to comment in the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s office about possible punishment of the sale of liquor to an underage person.

“We ask for restitution for the cost of the compliance check and the rest is up to the judge,” Forgay said.

According to Forgay, the underage people used to conduct the sting were not from the area. He also said no business is immune to a supervised sting. He would not comment as to future plans, but said the department does plan to continue searching for businesses who sell to underage buyers.

The police department has offered to give businesses training on how to ask for identification from customers and how to say “no” when proper identification is not provided.