7 Long Beach businesses sold alcohol to minors during undercover stings, police say

Long Beach police and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control say they caught employees at seven different businesses providing alcohol to people under 21 years old during a series of sting operations over the last few months.

The agencies used undercover, underage decoys to try to buy booze from 18 licensed alcohol sellers between Sept. 25 and Jan. 31, police said. Eleven of the locations passed the test, but employees at seven of the locations ended up illegally providing alcohol, authorities said.

Authorities said the locations that failed the test are:

  • Hooters at 90 Aquarium Way
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar at 30 West Shoreline Drive
  • Q Smokehouse at 300 South Pine Ave.
  • Liquor Mill at 5440 Long Beach Blvd.
  • Prince Market and Deli at 6401 Cherry Ave.
  • Para Liquor at 5660 Paramount Blvd.
  • Rose Liquor at 1201 East South St.

The employees who sold the liquor will face a fine or community service if it was their first violation, police said, and ABC will pursue administrative penalties against the business’s liquor license. That could include a fine, a suspension or a permanent revocation—a penalty that’s typically only imposed on repeat offenders.

When ABC first started using underage buyers in sting operations back in the 1980s, the percentage of businesses failing the test reached as high as 40% to 50%, according to police.

“When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10% or even lower,” the LBPD said in a statement.

Although almost 39% of businesses investigators visited failed in this case, one that passed was Green Diamond Liquor—the corner store at the center of a case involving a 20-year-old driver who says he got alcohol there before killing a family of three at Los Cerritos Park on Halloween 2019.

The woman accused of providing the alcohol is still fighting charges that she’s been using her daughter’s clean name as a front that allowed her to open Green Diamond despite a history of running afoul of liquor laws.

Police said Tuesday that they visited the North Long Beach store on Nov. 12, and the decoy wasn’t able to buy alcohol.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.