Long Beach police and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control say they recently caught employees at three different businesses providing alcohol to people under 21.

The agencies used undercover, underage decoys to try to buy booze from 23 licensed alcohol sellers between October and April, police said. Twenty of the locations passed the test, but employees at three of the locations ended up illegally providing alcohol, authorities said.

Police said the locations that failed the test are:

  • NQ Market at 1501 E. 14th St.
  • Shop N Go Market & Liquor at 2990 E. Artesia Blvd.
  • P.F. Chang’s at 340 S. Pine Ave.

The employees who sold the liquor will face a fine or community service if it was their first violation, police said, and the ABC will pursue administrative penalties against the business’s liquor license.

Penalties for the businesses could include a fine, a suspension or a permanent revocation of their license—a penalty that’s typically only imposed on repeat offenders.

The ABC first started using underage buyers in sting operations back in the 1980s. At that time, 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.

Funding for this program was provided through a $75,000 grant from the ABC, which the LBPD received in September 2022.