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Several arrested in Santa Maria “shoulder tap” operation

Posted at 5:39 PM, Aug 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-11 20:39:25-04

Santa Maria Police arrested and cited several people purchasing an alcoholic beverage for a minor on Saturday.

Police conducted an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) minor decoy "shoulder tap" operation. It attempts to get people from the community to purchase alcoholic beverages for minors.

Out of twenty-one individuals contacted during the operation two suspects purchased an alcoholic beverage for the seventeen year old minor decoy, Sgt. Eligio Lara reported.

"After purchasing alcohol for the minor decoy, the suspects were contacted and arrested and charged for purchasing an alcoholic beverage for a minor," Eligio stated. "During the investigation it was discovered that one of the suspects had a misdemeanor arrest warrant for charges of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. This suspect was cited for purchasing alcohol for the minor decoy and booked on the warrant charges. The other suspect was issue a citation at the scene for purchasing alcohol for the minor decoy and was also cited for driving a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license."

During the operation a third suspect was contacted and issued a citation for consumption of an alcoholic beverage on private property open to the public. The following suspects were arrested and/or cited:

Vazquez, Antonio Dominguez 33 years old of Santa Maria 
Charges: Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor and booked on a misdemeanor warrant. 

Becerra, Phillip Saldana 35 years old of Santa Maria
Charges: Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor and Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License. 

Valencia, Gabriel Rojas 65 years old of Santa Maria 
Charges: Consumption of an Alcoholic Beverage on Private Property Open to the Public.

These type of programs are intended to reduce the availability of alcoholic beverages to minors; statistics show that teens have a greater rate of drunken driving crashes than adults.