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Seven nabbed in undercover sting
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It is illegal in Tennessee to buy or possess alcohol under age 21.

Seven businesses face action against their alcohol licenses after their employees were caught selling beer to an underage operative. The clerks who sold the alcohol were cited into court where they will likely face fines and perhaps even jail time. 

Caught in the sting were:

• Priteshumar Patel, 37, at Super Gas

• David Byars, 60, at Mt Leo Market

•Hemrajsinh Rathod, 39, at South Chancery Gulf

• Makayla Ferrell, 21, at Crisp Springs Market

•Charles White, 66, at Owens Market

• Jeel Patel, 18, at Morrison Market

• Pamela Phares, 61, at Jewels Market

The businesses were caught by a joint Sheriff’s Department, McMinnville Police and District Attorney’s Office undercover sting that targeted all convenience stores countywide. Each of the businesses were approached by an underage operative, who tried to purchase beer. 

The operative did not offer any type of fake ID in order to trick the clerks. State law requires ID to be checked on all alcohol sales, no matter how old the buyer appears. Purchase or possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal in Tennessee.

Sheriff Tommy Myers and Police Chief Bryan Denton expressed their appreciation to those establishments who followed the law and have provided appropriate training to their clerks. Those practices have substantially curbed this issue in recent years. They noted in past operations as many as 75 percent of establishments had sold illegally.

“There were 28 convenience stores and seven cashiers sold beer illegally. That’s 25 percent and a lot better than the 75 percent,” said Denton. “We do these stings occasionally. We have received quite a few complaints and felt it was time to conduct another one.”

The clerks caught selling beer were served with citations. They will appear in General Sessions Court where they will face the likely prospect of a fine that could reach up to $750. In rare cases following past beer-buying operations, clerks have been made to serve 24 hours in jail for the misdemeanor. After the criminal cases are complete against the clerks, the business owners will be hauled before either the city or county Beer Boards, depending on which issued their beer permit. Both boards have policies in place that dictate punishment for business that sell beer to underage individuals.