Starkville finds underage alcohol sales

By The Associated Press

STARKVILLE — Local and state authorities over a recent weekend issued 22 citations to employees at Starkville businesses for alcohol sales to underage individuals.

Police Capt. Chris Thomas tells the Starkville Daily News that the citations were issued to employees of 21 businesses — including restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and bars. He would not release a list of where the individual citations were issued.

Thomas said each citation is for $385.

The Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control agency participated in the operation. No businesses were cited.

Police Sgt. Shawn Word said past operations were of a smaller scale.

“I wanted to try and visit every place in the city of Starkville that either sold beer or liquor. We were able to accomplish that,” Word said.

Mississippi Department of Revenue spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said the ABC has not begun investigating the businesses for a possible sales suspension.

“If more serious information (is reported to us), the bureau could suspend or revoke (a business’) permit,” Waterbury said.

She said that would come after a notice and a hearing.

Waterbury said the state offers free compliance training for alcohol-selling businesses.

Thomas said the compliance check came at a time when proms and graduations are coming up. He said both are “a more likely time when minors are getting out more and trying to purchase alcohol.”

“Usually we try and do (compliance checks) this time of year and at the beginning of each (Mississippi State University) school semester.

“I don’t think these citations alone are going to shut (businesses’ alcohol sales) down, but it definitely will get them aware of procedures. It’s up to the businesses to teach their employees to properly follow identification-checking procedures,” Thomas said.