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'It's a concern to our citizens': Jones County stores cited as sheriff's office cracks down on underage alcohol sales

19 businesses sell alcohol in the county. When the sheriff's office did their compliance check, they found nine of those businesses in violation.

JONES COUNTY, Ga. — The Jones County Sheriff's Office is cracking down on selling alcohol to minors.

This week, the sheriff's office performed a compliance check to stores with alcohol licenses. Lieutenant Kenny Gleaton with the Jones County Sheriff's Office says there are 19 businesses that sell alcohol in the county. 

When they did their compliance check, they found nine of those businesses in violation. That's seven more than their last check in 2021.

For six years now, NBM Market on Joycliff Road has served the community, but recently, they became one of the nine businesses cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

"We don't want to be in that category -- simple as that," Nishilkumar Patel said. 

Patel, the owner of the market, says his business has been checked many times, and they passed.

"I hope everyone understands this, that we're not trying to sell any alcohol to minors here," Patel said. 

He says this time, he wasn't there supervising his employee.

"In these locations, the clerks failed to even ask the undercover agent to produce an ID. In these particular instances, it wasn't that they got fooled by a really good fake, they didn't even ask to see one," Lieutenant Gleaton said. 

Gleaton says they performed the countywide compliance check after getting calls from the community, particularly from parents worried about stores selling to minors.

"If it's a concern to our citizens, then it's a concern to our sheriff's office and we're going to address it as best as we can," Gleaton said. 

Rebecca Billue shops at Patel's store frequently with her kids.

"Definitely don't want to sell to no minors. I feel very comfortable at this store. They card me every time I come in here, and I come in here just about every day," Billue said. 

"We're not scared. I just want the community to know that we're not doing any kind of rubbish business here," Patel said. 

Gleaton says he hopes the violations are a reality check for store clerks and owners.

"Not only to get the attention of these clerks and make sure these clerks that are making these sales understand the seriousness and their responsibility, but also to get the attention of the owners and operators of these stores," Gleaton said. 

Gleaton says violations like this can affect the business's license to sell alcohol. The license could get revoked or refused renewal. The Jones County Sheriff's Office has an app for people in the community to send tips anonymously. Gleaton says it's a good way to stay in touch with the sheriff's office. 


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