2 arrested in ‘Shoulder Tap’ operation in Coachella

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The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrests of two people as part of program called a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation which targeted adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age.

Two men were arrested during the operation, which tool place in the city of Coachella on Thursday:

  • Mark Ford, 32 of Thousand Palms was arrested for furnishing alcohol to a minor, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Dominic Rios, 56 of Coachella was arrested for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Here’s how the department explains the operation:

Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, deputies then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors – which statistics show generally have a higher rate of drunk driving crashes than adults. According to the department, studies also show the combination of alcohol and youth tends to increase criminal conduct.