An undercover sheriff's operation sends two young women to 59 convenience stores in and around Carrollwood.
By TIM GRANT
Published July 25, 2003
CARROLLWOOD - Two 19-year-old women helped sheriff's deputies find out just how many of the convenience store clerks in and around the Carrollwood area are following the state's alcoholic beverage law.
The underaged women visited 59 gas stations and convenience stores last week, trying to buy beer and other alcoholic drinks. Any clerk who sold them alcohol was charged with a second degree misdemeanor and given a court date.
Deputies charged 14 clerks on July 17 with sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under 21, according to sheriff's records.
"We are trying to keep alcoholic beverages out of the hands of underaged drinkers, particularly during the summer months when school is out," said Sgt. Brett Saunders, head of the sheriff's District III selective enforcement squad.
The gas stations and convenience stores where clerks sold the women alcohol are in Carrollwood, Northdale, Odessa, Westchase and Town 'N Country.
Saunders said the women who help the deputies in these undercover operations are often relatives of sheriff's deputies, Sheriff's Explorers or high school students. He said they use no fake identification and are required to give their true age if asked by a clerk.
Although the maximum penalty for selling alcohol to minors is 60 days in jail, Saunders said the offense generally results in a court fine and probation. The store owners are not held responsible for the clerks' actions unless there is a pattern.
"Some of these people lose their jobs over it," Saunders said. "If the owner makes the sale, there could be stricter penalties, but normally it's an employee."
The clerks who were cited were: Sheila Payne, 42, at Race Track gas station, 4222 N Gunn Highway; Joni Leinen, 25, at 7-Eleven, 8305 W Hillsborough Ave.; Walter Roberts, 51, at 7-Eleven, 13919 W Hillsborough Ave.; Bhartiben Patel, 39, at Food Mart, 4355 Waters Ave.; Galina Delaney, 61, at Circle K, 10111 W Hillsborough Ave.; Nicholas Santalucia, 58, at Texaco, 8145 W Waters Ave., William Vargas, 33, at Shell, 9907 Dale Mabry Highway; James Kirkpatrick, 34, at Max's Mini Mart, 3899 Northdale Blvd.; Brad Ewing, 21, at Speedway, 6211 N Dale Mabry Highway; Angela Gonzalez, 25, at Hess, 6332 N Dale Mabry Highway; Carlos Ojeda, 64, at Shell, 5524 Van Dyke Road; Glory Guzman, 21, at Citgo, 8212 N Sheldon Road; Tonja Osborne, 31, at 7-Eleven, 5604 Hesperides St.; and Noureddine Kharfaoui, 34, at Mobil, 5935 Memorial Highway.