Several Ardmore stores busted by undercover officers selling alcohol to minors

By: Lauren Smith
By: Lauren Smith

ARDMORE, OK -- State law enforcement says teens are buying millions of dollars of alcohol in southern Oklahoma. So they're stepping up training to prevent it.

First down Phil's liquor store was one of sixteen businesses, out of twenty two visited in Ardmore, that was busted Monday night for selling alcohol to minors.

The teens volunteer to go undercover for these compliance checks at Ardmore liquor stores, gas stations and restaurants as part of a training program put on by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, or "ABLE".

Kathi Johnson, a detective with Ada police department, says the importance of compliance checks goes beyond the illegal purchases.

Johnson said, "If we can stop it there than we can stop a lot of what happens after they're intoxicated, which is the more serious things- Like the assaults and things like that."

The two day "Too Much Too Lose" seminar is hosted by the Oklahoma ABLE commission along with Wichita Mountain Regional Prevention Network.

The groups say way too many minors are abusing alcohol, especially in Southern Oklahoma.

In 2009, law enforcement says Oklahoma minors bought 250 million dollars worth of alcohol.

Ardmore Police Officer Bryce Woolly said, "Around the holidays coming up, it's a real big problem. We spend a lot of our time and a lot of hours trying to combat that when we could spending time and efforts doing other things."

Woolly said he believes under-aged drinking can be prevented but will take more than a few busts like these.

Woolly added, "We in law enforcement, and in the community, have to stand-up and say hey this is not right. This is not the road we want our kids to go down."

On Tuesday, officers will train how to disperse teen house parties, which they say are one of the highest-risk settings for alcohol related problems among youth.

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