In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to sell to a minor, and can result into a $4,000 fine, up to a year in jail, and suspension of the alcohol permit.
Using volunteer minors under close supervision of TABC agents, the volunteers go into stores to what happens when a minor tries to buy alcohol. The minor does not use a fake, rather their own state issued ID, and if asked how old they are, must state their real age.
Before the stings, stores are given notice of an increase in scrutiny by TABC and are given education about preventing any type of violations.
According to Captain Mark Menn with the West Texas District of TABC, only 3 of 94 places checked sold to minors. Of those 94, 25 were in Lubbock, and none of those sold to minors.
"We try to identify the locations that are along major routes of travel, entertainment districts where there's going to be a lot of young people, and we go to those locations, educate them, warn them about the possibility of increased traffic, of young people trying to buy, using fake ID's" said Captain Menn.
Captain Menn also said anytime there's a minor who goes into the store undercover, there's an undercover agent there as well. The minor's are also not allowed to try to plead to get the alcohol, they have to be honest if asked their age. "No coercion or pleading, there are under agents monitoring the situation from a few feet away the whole time," said Captain Menn.
At Fat Kat's Liquor, they said they not only check ID's at the register, but also at the door. They also say TABC has done undercover stings at their store before, but they've always passed. "If you're too lax in what you do, you may just make a mistake, and they keep you on your toes that way ," said James Turner, manager at Fat Kat's.
In North Texas, TABC checked 208 places, and they were found to be 84% in compliance. In West Texas, the compliance rate was about 96% and the state average is at about 90%.