Convenience Stores Lose Beer Licenses, Arrestees Face Fines For Underage Booze Sales

Three Trenton convenience store workers arrested in a Nov. 21 sting operation for selling alcohol to minors will appear in city court on Jan. 10 and will likely face fines.

"I don't think anyone's going to go to prison for it," said Dade Magistrate Joel McCormick, who doubles as Trenton city judge.

Laws in some jurisdictions do allow for jail time for such offenses, but McCormick said in Dade it is treated as a misdemeanor and punished with monetary penalties. He said he believed it did show up on a person's arrest record, though.

McCormick said he had dealt with another incidence of such arrests when seven or eight store workers were cited for underage alcohol sales, and in that case some of the store owners had sprung for the fines while others left the clerks to pay it themselves.

The three stores where the arrests were made --Circle K, 190 Main St.; Eagle Express, 5278 Highway 136 West; and the Citgo at 4454 Highway 136 West, according to Trenton Police Investigator Christy Smith--lost their right to sell alcoholic beverages when they were cited. They can petition to be reinstated at a special called meeting of the Trenton City Commission at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, according to Trenton City Clerk Lucretia Houts.

"In the city of Trenton, the commission is the beer board," she explained. (In unincorporated Dade, liquor licenses are issued and regulated by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, or so-called beer board.)

Ms. Houts said a similar spate of arrests had happened before during her 26 years with the city, but so long ago she couldn't remember the outcome. She was unable to predict what measures the city commission might require before it would reissue the stores their licenses. "The Department of Revenue is the one that did this," she said.

The arrests were made in a "compliance check" by the Trenton Police Department working in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Revenue, Alcohol and Tobacco Division.

The three arrested were listed as Mukeshkumar Patel, Dinesh Shashi and Melissa McMahan.

City court in Trenton is held at 3 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in the new Dade courts building with Magistrate McCormick presiding. The next court date is Dec. 13.

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