Homosassa, FL

Multiple Central Florida Businesses Busted In Joint Undercover Sting Operation

Uncovering Florida

Cover photo for illustrative purposes only.Photo byMichael FörtschonUnsplash

An announcement by Citrus County Sheriff's Office on social media early Wednesday morning reveals that multiple businesses in Homosassa and Crystal River are not in compliance with Florida's local Tobacco and Beverage Laws — and were caught selling alcohol to minors.

"Detectives from Citrus County Sheriff's Office and state investigators from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) teamed up for an enforcement effort ensuring establishments adhere to their licensure." the 9:59 am Facebook post reads, in part.

Earlier this month, Officers and the ABT sent in undercover and underage patrons to 21 random establishments across Citrus County. While the majority passed their secret test with flying colors, a handful did not; four to be exact.

Single misdemeanor citations for selling to minors were issued to the Brothers Pizza on Gulf to Lake Highway in Crystal River, as well as Strickland's Convenience Store in Homosassa.

Joe Elders Coney Island in Crystal River received 2 violations; one for a 17-year-old employee that sold to the minor. According to Florida Statute 562.13, only employees 18 or older can sell alcohol as a part of their work duties, resulting in the second citation being issued to the manager for the employee's violation.

However, not all breaches in compliance occurred as a result of selling to a minor. Florida Cracker Monkey Bar & Kitchen in Homosassa received an administration violation of Florida Statute 562.12 by selling a "to-go" cocktail and allowing the individual to walk off the premises where the consumption of the beverage is licensed.

“The sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors is irresponsible and preventable just by a simple check of an identification card,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “I am proud of those establishments that follow the law and do their part to help keep our community safe. We will continue to work with our colleagues at the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to conduct these compliance checks throughout the year.”

The full list of locations not in compliance are as follows:

The below establishments did operate in compliance with their licensure, receiving no citations:

Looking to stay up to date on law-enforcement happenings in Citrus County? You can follow the Citrus County Sheriff's Office on Facebook here or Instagram here.

Article by Rachael Volpe

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