ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Alcohol enforcement officers have arrested six store clerks in Angelina County accused of selling to a 17-year-old boy during a sting operation on March 9.
"It's a real safety hazard for everybody involved," said Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agent, Joey Davidson.
Linda Marie Eaves, 55, of Pollok; Syed Nasir Raza, 48, of Lufkin; Seth Jarrett Leggett, 21, of Lufkin; Donna Walker Martin, 65, of Lufkin; Karen Ann Payne, 44, of Zavalla; and Dusty Don Rash, 22, of Wells; are charged with selling alcohol to minors, a Class A misdemeanor.
According to arrest affidavits, the sting operation took place on March 9.
"A lot of high school related events are going on at this time of year, and we want to make sure that all our stores that are selling alcoholic beverages are compliant with the law," said Davidson.
In Eaves' case, the 17-year-old boy walked into Polk's #3, located at 6925 US 69 North in Pollok and selected a 24-ounce can of Bud Light from the cooler. When he went to buy the beer, Eaves told him he did not look old enough and asked him how old he was. The boy told her he was 17, according to the narrative. It said Eaves looked at it for nearly a minute, then asked another person in line how old he was. The man said the boy was old enough to buy beer, so Eaves sold it to him.
"There have a lot more cases here lately where the clerk is looking at the I.D. and still selling the alcohol," said Davidson.
In Raza's case, the same boy walked into Huntington Speed Mart, located at 191 US 69 North, and selected a 24-ounce can of Busch. The narrative said Raza sold the beer without questioning the boy's age.
Information is not available on Leggett's case.
In Martin's case, the boy walked into Polk's No. 20, located at 2400 E. Denman Ave., and bought a 22-ounce bottle of Bud Ice. According to the affidavit, Martin did not question the boy's age.
In Payne's case, the boy walked into Coleman's, located at 188 State Highway 14 in Zavalla, and bought a 24-ounce bottle of Bud Light. According to the affidavit, Payne did not question the boy's age.
In Rash's case, the boy walked into Dollar General, located at 3156 US 69 North in Lufkin, and bought a six-pack of 16-ounce cans of Natural Light. According to the affidavit, Rash did not question the boy's age.
All six were booked into the Angelina County Jail on Wednesday and released on $1,500 bonds.
For school officials, like Hudson ISD Superintendent, Mary Whiteker, the non-compliance of adults selling alcohol is startling, especially around prom time.
"It's frightening that we have adults that are not willing to go that one extra step to ensure that they are not providing alcohol for minors," said Whiteker.
Hudson ISD says that they have a zero tolerance policy for any student drinking on or off of campus. To ensure students follow the rules, Whiteker says parents also need to be on board.
"I think it's so very important that parents realize that they still have a huge responsibility in working with the schools to ensure that this is not an issue," said Whiteker.
The TBAC plans to continue undercover stings in Angelina County, ensuring all store clerks are compliant. Selling alcohol to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor. That means anyone violates the law could face fines up to four thousand dollars or one year in jail.