Youths in the NYPD Explorers program working undercover with police stung nine out of 17 businesses, with citations including sales of alcohol to minors, during a six-month period. Eight businesses were commended for following the law.
While three businesses were cited over alleged sales of alcohol to minors, two involved marijuana arrests, one involved a gun, narcotics and untaxed cigarettes, one involved consumption of alcohol in the store, one did not have legal drinking age signs posted, and one involved violation of a business law.
This compliance check of businesses conducted from January through July of 2017 was co-sponsored by Forward South Bronx Coalition and the 41st Precinct, according to Cedric McClester, project coordinator and founder/chairman emeritus of FSBC.
“In an area where underage drinking is the number one substance-abuse issue, it is critically important that business establishments that sell alcohol, avoid selling to underage individuals,” McClester said.
FSBC operates out of Longwood and Hunts Point, according to McClester.
2017 is the second year that FSBC received federal funding and gave $20,000 to the 41st Precinct to help cover the cost of the operation.
“We are grateful that FSBC provided us with the financial wherewithal to conduct increased compliance checks,” said captain Louis DeCeglie, commander of the 41st Precinct.
These businesses were commended for complying with the law and passing their compliance checks:
• El Exito, 960 East 165th Street.
• Intervale Liquor, 944A Intervale Avenue.
• El Porton Bar, 576 Southern Boulevard.
• El Valle Restaurant, 1008 Westchester Avenue.
• El Polvorin Restaurant, 807 Hunts Point Avenue
• Family Deli Grocery,19 Simpson Street
• ZE Food, Inc., 551 Southern Boulevard
• A&G Deli, 976 Prospect Avenue
These three businesses were cited for allegedly selling alcohol to a minor:
• South Bronx Liquor, 866 Prospect Avenue.
• Best Price Liquor, 995 Westchester Avenue.
• Hunts Point Gourmet, Inc., 770 Hunts Point Avenue.
Clerks at Best Price Liquor insisted that they check for IDs before selling alcohol, and had no comment about the alleged citation.
Workers at South Bronx Liquor and Hunts Point Gourmet had no comment about the alleged citations.
Sammy’s Deli and Grocery Corp., 1126 Westchester Avenue was cited for not clearly posting a ‘21 and older’ poster.
Arrests were made over alleged possession of marijuana at these two businesses:
• Family Deli Grocery, 1019 Simpson Street.
• Smooth Life Gourmet Deli, 1016 Westchester Avenue.
El Morro Grocery, 1048 Westchester Avenue, faced charges over allegedly having narcotics and a gun on premises, and for selling untaxed cigarettes.
Lucky Brothers Deli, 706 Faile Street, was cited for someone allegedly consuming alcohol in the store.
And Big A Hookah, 703 Hunts Point Avenue, was cited for an alleged business law violation.
The penalties for a licensee selling alcohol to a minor ages 18 to 21 include being charged with a class 2 misdemeanor, resulting in a possible 30-day maximum sentence and a small fine.
Selling to a minor under 18 is a Class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in a possible year in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to Adam Vukovic, a legal writer with LegalMatch.
The penalty for the clerk who actually sells the alcohol is liable for all the same penalties as the licensee.
The clerk may also have his or her driver’s license suspended for 30 days to a year, according to Vukovic.
More details on the penalties the offenders, if found guilty, would face was not available before press time.
The police officers work with youths participating in the Law Enforcement Explorers program, that provides young men and women with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system, according to the NYPD website.
“This is a perfect example of a community-based organization working in conjunction with the local precinct to abate law violations, which can negatively impact youth,” said Richard P. Sherman, FSBC chairman.
Just elected chairman in June, Sherman said the coalition includes elected officials, representatives, the district attorney and national guard, who are all working together to help alleviate the opioid crisis and underage drinking.