Dozens in Modesto-area cited in alcohol sting

Police and sheriff's deputies in Stanislaus County cited nearly three dozen people Saturday in an undercover operation targeting adults willing to buy alcohol for people under age 21, law enforcement officials said.

The Stanislaus County sting was part of a multicounty operation in Northern California that netted 80 citations for selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors and involved the Modesto Police Department, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and 14 other law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, 18 people were arrested on suspicion of other violations, including illegal drugs, being drunk in public, having an open container and parole violations, according to a beverage control news release.

The operation aims to curb minors' access to alcohol and prevent alcohol-related problems on St. Patrick's Day, which is Wednesday.

The operation -- called a decoy shoulder tap -- involves having someone under age 21 stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask a customer to buy him or her alcohol. Law enforcement is nearby, and the decoys are under the supervision of a peace officer.

Modesto police cited 14 people Saturday and arrested one person on suspicion of being drunk in public. Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies cited six people and arrested one person on suspicion of driving on a suspended license.

Turlock police officers cited eight people, and Oakdale officers cited six people, according to a Modesto police news release.

The operation included law enforcement agencies in San Joaquin, Sacramento, Alameda, Clear Lake, Mendocino and Santa Clara counties.