A sting operation targeting sale of alcohol to minors has verified what many local citizens have believed for a long time; teen access to alcohol sources in Clarke County are both plentiful and accessible. The two-week long undercover operation targeting local merchants throughout the county found that 50% were willing to provide underage buyers with alcohol.
“We concluded the investigation last night,” said Sergeant Travis M. Sumption of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Berryville Police Department investigated complaints of businesses in the County and Town of Berryville selling alcohol to persons less than 21 years of age.
As a result of the investigation, Sumption said that seven people have been charged with violating Virginia State code 4.1-304, a class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction can result in confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.
Sumption said that the following people were charged in the sting operation:
Farman Ali of Berryville – 340 Quick Mart
Bettylou Fleck of Boyce – Food Lion
James Haile of Bluemont – Pine Grove Store
Clayton Cummings of Bluemont – J&J Corner Store
Barbara Mitchell of White Post – Handy Mart
Song Ko of Boyce – Shenandoah Mart
Jennifer Smallwood of Berryville – 7-11 at Route 7 and Kimble Road
Sumption said that the following stores refused to sell alcohol to the underage persons used in the sting operation:
7-11 at Route 7 and Triple J Road
7-11 at Double Tollgate
Jim’s Country Store
340 Cigarette Outlet
Red Apple Deli
Sumption said that the operation employed several underage teens from outside of Clarke County to make the alcohol buys over a two week period.
“The minors are paid to perform the purchases,” Sumption said. “Once a buy is completed the seller is given a written summons to appear in court.”
Sumption said that the alcohol sting was not in response to any specific incident but rather was based on complaints by citizens.