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More Than 100 Arrests in Underage-Drinking Sting in High Country Following ASU Student Death in September

March 11, 2013. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has announced the arrest of more than 100 people in an operation aimed at deterring underage purchase and possession of alcoholic beverages, specifically targeting ABC-permitted outlets in the Appalachian State University and the High Country area. 

The operation grew out of the alcohol-related death of an Appalachian State University student in September. Special agents in the Alcohol Law Enforcement division of the Department of Public Safety conducted several covert enforcement operations. So far, 103 people have been arrested on 155 charges. Most of the charges were for underage possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages, aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol and using a fraudulent ID to obtain alcohol.

ALE agents said several types of fake identification documents were provided to and used by the suspects, who obtained them through the Internet from sources in foreign countries. More than 30 fake IDs were seized.

Agents also found underage people buying alcoholic beverages by using legal IDs of other people 21 and older.

“Underage consumers using a fraudulent identification document to buy alcoholic beverages are putting their own life and other lives at risk,” said Kieran Shanahan, secretary of the Department of Public Safety. “Purchasing, possessing and consuming alcoholic beverages not only is a violation of the law, it could cost people their lives.” 

Because of the number of arrests, ALE special agents and the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission hosted a training seminar for ABC retailers on March 7 to help retailers and their employees identify fake IDs that may be used to buy alcoholic beverages. ALE will continue efforts in the Boone area to prevent underage people from purchasing, possessing and consuming alcoholic beverages.

ALE special agents have authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense anywhere in the state. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of the state alcoholic beverage control and drug laws.