Police: Snoqualmie Valley businesses should educate themselves, prepare for liquor stings

North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner called on Snoqualmie Valley business owners to know the law on underage liquor and tobacco sales — and have staff ready to follow it — when undercover liquor checks begin locally this spring.

Police agencies in North Bend and Snoqualmie, Preston and Fall City will be conducting undercover liquor sales checks, or stings, starting in April. During the checks, a minor, working with an officer and officials from the Washington State Liquor Control Board, will attempt to make a liquor or tobacco purchase. Sales to a minor made in the stings will result in a ticket for the sales clerk, up to $1,500 in fines on the business, and potentially the loss of the business's liquor license.

State law mandates that no one under the age of 21 may purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages. For tobacco products, the person cannot be under 18 years of age.

Officers will visit all businesses to provide them with pamphlets, reminders, and training opportunities to help combat underage purchases.

"By conducting these efforts in April, May and June, we hope to have 100 percent compliance by the time school is out," Toner said. "The summer months are common party times. By getting ahead of them in this manner, we should be able to reduce alcohol and tobacco abuse, minimizing alcohol-related accidents and deaths."

The emphasis is also meant to educate children and families about the law.

Toner reminds young people that the purchase puts not just themselves but the person who sold them illegal goods at risk.

"If they make an illegal purchase from a clerk, that person could lose their job," he said. "We hope that the kids will realize that they are not just risking a personal fine or jail time, but they may seriously affect the livelihood of the sales clerks."

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