Sting Operation On Local Bars and Restaurants

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is stepping up enforcement, and they've got the backing of the State of Texas. Right now 65 new TABC agents are undergoing final testing before hitting the streets. Deep East Texas will be receiving four additional agents. The directive is to continue the stings to keep intoxicated and underage violators off the road.

Certified agents hit the streets of Nacogdoches and Lufkin Thursday.  It showed how easy it can be for a teenager to get a drink.

An 18 year old begins a day of trying to buy alcoholic drinks at local restaurants and bars. First stop Clear Springs Restaurant. Did he get the Bud Light he asked for?

TABC agent Lt. Brian Williams said the bartender didn't do his job. "Didn't ask for any ID, anything like that. He brought him the beer. He sat there a few minutes, said 'He had to go, paid his tab and left.'"

The cue for agents to go in. Agents know they're not everyone's favorite person. TABC investigator Jeff Taylor said, "Especially when they feel like they're going to jail or or they're about to go to jail, so this sometimes can be the tough part."

Getting caught selling to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. Conviction means up to a $4,000 fine and a year in the county jail.

The sting operation serves as a warning to other establishments that serve and sell alcohol. TABC says heed their advice. Do not sell to minors and follow all other TABC laws. Taylor warned, "They can expect to see a lot more of TABC then they've seen in the past on the enforcement end. We will be doing numerous undercover operations."

Next stop for the agents was the Cantina at Casa Tomas. The bartender Jose Cortes sent the minor on his way. "I just check the driver's license to see if he had a membership and I saw the birthday and like, come on, I said."

Three out of twenty restaurants in the Nacogdoches Lufkin area violated the law this time around: Clear Springs in Nacogdoches and, in Lufkin, Jimmy's Too, and Sports Shack.