Long Beach police and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) say they recently cited four adults on suspicion of buying alcohol for people under 21 during a series of sting operations over the last several months.

“Underage drinking harms our community,” said LBPD Lieutenant Paul Baum. “Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors will help to increase public safety and make our roads safer.”

The stings were conducted as part of an operation known as Shoulder Tap, in which undercover, underage decoys approach adults and ask them to buy alcohol for them.

If the adult agrees to purchase the alcohol for the decoy, they can be arrested and/or cited, authorities said. Furnishing alcohol to someone under the age of 21 is a misdemeanor that carries a minimum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service, police said.

“We conduct these operations to keep alcohol out of the hands of our youth,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “By preventing underage drinking we can increase the quality of life in our communities and reduce DUIs.”

In this case, police decoys approached adults outside of stores in Long Beach from October 2022 to May, indicated they were underage, and asked the adults to buy them alcohol, according to the LBPD.

Police said underage decoys approached 32 adults during that time period, and four agreed to buy alcohol for the decoys and were subsequently cited.

In March, the ABC announced that it had cited more than 130 people across the state for providing alcohol to underage decoys during an undercover sting.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the ABC Alcohol Policing Partnership program, which works with law enforcement  to develop new approaches to eliminating crime and other issues associated with problem alcoholic beverage outlets.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from the Long Beach Police Department.

California advances fentanyl bills on prevention, increased penalties