Undercover operation: Upstate deputies catch several adults buyi - FOX Carolina 21

Undercover operation: Upstate deputies catch several adults buying alcohol for minor

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It was all caught on camera – adults buying alcohol for an under age girl. The Greenville County Sheriff's Office said it's part of an operation with the Phoenix Center and other law enforcement to stop teen drinking.

Through the "Out of their Hands" initiative, local and state law enforcement helped to deter underage drinking, and those who may provide alcohol to minors.  

On Monday afternoon, deputies placed a 19 year-old girl, who was working with the department, outside of multiple gas stations to ask: "Do you have a second, I have $10, can you buy me a pack of Corona?"

Many adults continued to walk by not wanting anything to do with facilitating underage drinking. But as the day progressed, these deputies and our FOX Carolina crew started to see more and more people hand over a six pack to the minor.

Master Deputy Matt Smith, with the community patrol unit, said it is something that hits home for a lot of deputies and they want to see the dangers of underage drinking go down.

"Statistically, about 5,000 people a year in the United States die as the result of underage alcohol use. We're out here trying to save lives. These operations target those who would provide alcohol to minors as it is against the law."

The operation consisted of 15 investigators, all from SLED, Travelers Rest, Greer and Greenville County. They split into teams, some pairing up with teens to see what stores continue to sell to minors.  

"Almost 45 percent of the time, clerks were selling to our minors, and here lately, about 5 to 6 percent of the time they're able to make a buy. So retailers are doing a much better job," Smith said. 
Although the stores might be doing better, we teamed up with Lt. Mike Decker and the 19 year-old, who will remain anonymous. We saw several people decide to take the money and give in to her plea for alcohol. Many instantly re-thinking when the squad cars pulled into the 'party.' 

"Almost every party we go to, we end sending at least two to three people to the hospital, and it's just horrible for us to think about, how many kids are out there that may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, or are in a situation where they are at home being irresponsible. So anything we can do to curtail that is worth doing," Lt. Decker said. 

Deputies said although the teen is working with the sheriff's office, she represents a reality all across the county.

"We're here to save lives, we're not here to make a quota, or ruin any kids' lives, we're here to make their lives better and be productive citizens."

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