UPDATE: 1/26/22 9:27 p.m.
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — After several complaints accusing Blu Convenience Store of selling alcohol to minors, the Panama City Beach Department decided to look a little deeper into alcohol sales across the beach.
“Unfortunately we had several people that weren’t doing what they needed to be doing to ensure minors are not possessing alcohol,” said Panama City Beach Police Chief, J.R. Talamantez.
Talamantez said an undercover, underage cop posed as a customer and was able to buy alcohol despite beig under 21. He said it’s a disregard for the law.
“Not even asking for ID or even looking at the ID and seeing that the person is underage and still selling the alcohol,” Talamantez said.
In total, five businesses were busted and five people were arrested. Talamantez said he hopes there are more checks and balances put into place ahead of the spring and summer seasons to prevent this from happening.
“The owners of these businesses need to ensure their employees are following the law and that their employees actions can ultimately affect their business specifically if you trust somebody at the cashier, cash register, to check somebody’s ID, you need to make sure they’re doing that,” Talamantez said.
Talamantez said a lot of dangerous things can happen once alcohol is on the hands of a minor.
“People might think the selling of alcohol to a minor is not that serious of an offense but if you look at the possibilities that could come after that – driving under the influence, a lot of times these kids will drink too much to the point they’re hospitalized,” Talamantez said.
With spring break around the corner, Chief Talamantez said businesses selling alcohol to minors is the last thing we need. He said the city is not going to tolerate it.
Our previous version of the story is below.
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach police said Wednesday that they arrested five people in an undercover sting for allegedly selling alcohol to minors.
“The operation stemmed from complaints from the community that minors were able to buy alcoholic beverages from the Blu Convenience Store,” police wrote in a news release.
The agency added that they will continue to conduct these operations at random, to “ensure businesses are complying with state law and to keep our community safe.”
The arrests are below:
Mark A. Warner at Express Lane, located at 14666 Front Beach Road.
Tokhir S. Pulatov at Blu Convenience Store, located at 17836 Front Beach Road.
Kathy E. Askew at Barnacle Barney’s Food Store, located at 13616 Hutchison Blvd.
Allie M. Tran at Circle K, located at 10323 Front Beach Road.
Seth P. Evans at Harpoon Harry’s, located at 12627 Front Beach Road.