Twenty store clerks are facing charges following a beer sting in Hawkins County, Tennessee.
For the past few weeks, 'confidential sources' under the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission have been attempting to buy beer as minors. Police said some got away with it.
Tempting as it may be, beer is off limits for anyone under the age of 21. It's a law that's been the center of a massive and on-going investigation in Hawkins County.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told us the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission approached him to help with undercover beer buys and crack down on those who sell alcohol to minors. "It lets them know we are watching in all aspects, and it'll send a message to pay attention," said Sheriff Lawson.
This is the result thus far: 17 Hawkins County store clerks and three Rogersville store clerks are charged with selling beer to minors. "Some of those people check ID's but didn't pay attention to the date of birth, and some didn't even ask for an ID," Lawson explained.
We sat down with the chair of the Hawkins County beer board Danny Alvis. He told us it will be up to the court to deal with the clerks facing charges; if they are convicted, store owners could see consequences too. "The beer board has the authority to probation up to a $1,500 fine depending on the different circumstances I guess, maybe the number of times they've been caught," Alvis told us.
Residents told us, this sting may be what's needed to keep kids away from temptation and prevent drinking and driving. "If they get a couple beers in them you know they like to speed up a little bit and just not pay attention," said Geneva Birchfield, a Hawkins County resident.
None of the stores we contacted wished to give us a comment.
We were able to pull 17 of the affidavits from the Hawkins County Clerk's Office.
The reports state clerks from these businesses were charged with selling beer to minors:
VFW, VFW Road, Hawkins County
Country Crossroads Market, 2123 Highway 70N, Hawkins County
Final Lap Sports Bar, 9943 Hwy 11W, Mooresburg
Dot & Rick's Market, 2607 Highway 11W, Surgoinsville
Skipex, 106 Main Street, Mt. Carmel
11W Quick Stop, 3299 Hwy 11W, Surgoinsville
Bait & Tackle of Surgoinsville, Main Street, Surgoinsville
Clevinger's Market, 224 Butcher's Valley Road, Rogersville
Tri City Wholesale Tobacco, 160 Main Street, Mount Carmel
Bi-Lo Market, 515 HWY 11E, Bulls Gap
Triangle Grocery,104 Loretta Lane, Mooresburg
Rogersville Tobacco Outlet, Stapleton Lane
Zoomer's, 4221 W. Stone Drive, Kingsport
Liberty Market, 110 East Main Street, Rogersville
Raceway, HWY 66S