On March 7, the state’s division of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, with the assistance of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, conducted countywide compliance checks at various licensed retail premises throughout the county.
According to a news release issued Monday by the sheriff’s office, four premises failed the compliance check. These stores, including the name of the clerk/cashier, include C-Quarters Liquors in Carrabelle (Shannon Pruett), Dollar General in Eastpoint #902 (Britani Bryant); Bayfront Station in Apalachicola (Melanie Hutchins), and Express Lane on St. George Island #89 (Jenna Purkey).
Sheriff A.J. Smith said he requested the help of the state agents after receiving numerous complaints of underage minors being sold alcohol. The checks were attempted at 20 premises, with the remaining 16 found to be in compliance.
These included Lanark Market in Lanark Village; Dollar General, Hometown Deli IGA and Express Lane #10, all in Carrabelle; Express Lane and #14 and #17, Big Top Supermarket, and Easy Mart LLC, all in Eastpoint; and Gulfside IGA, Piggly Wiggly, Red’s Gas Station, CVS / Pharmacy #5165, Express Lane #98 and Redline Store, all in Apalachicola; and the Piggly Wiggly on St. George Island.
Smith said once a purchase of alcohol is made from an investigative aide, the clerk/cashier is issued a notice to appear in court for the second-degree misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol to a minor, which is punishable by a fine and up to 60 days in jail.
The sheriff said the investigative aides used to purchase the alcohol have a youthful appearance (ages 16-19) and must present their real and genuine identification showing they are in fact underage. Investigative aides are student volunteers who assist the division in its effort to eliminate the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to underage persons, Smith said.
“The sheriff’s office wants to thank all licensed premises that refused to sell alcohol to minors and will be conducting more attempts in the future,” he said.