Police cite 10 in underage alcohol crackdown


A Finksburg man and nine underage adults, all 18, 19 or 20 years old, were arrested by undercover state police troopers this month as part of a countywide crackdown on underage drinking, authorities said.

Troopers from the Westminster barracks participated in operation RAAM, Reducing the Availability of Alcohol to Minors, said 1st Sgt. Dean Richardson, who announced results of the crackdown last week. The arrests occurred May 12 in southeast Carroll.

Each of those arrested was given a civil citation to appear in court, Richardson said.

Donald W. Shepherd, 23, of Finksburg was arrested outside Londontown Liquors in the Londontown Shopping Center, where state police allege he left the store and handed several cases of beer and liquor to four people under age 21, the state's legal age to possess or consume alcohol.

Accused of being underage and in possession of alcohol were: Chad T. Tober, 20, of Sykesville; Richard W. Elms, 19, of Finksburg; Jessica L. Weitzman, 19, of Reisterstown; and Jessica L. Lesko, 19, of Sykesville, state police said.

Earlier the same evening, troopers cited BryanJ. Bandy, 18, of Eldersburg, accusing him of using false identification while trying to buy alcohol at Londontown Liquors. The trooper issuing the citation was posing as a clerk inside the store, Richardson said.

Later that night at Freedom Liquors in the Freedom Plaza Shopping Center, state police said, an unidentified man bought liquor, walked to a car occupied by four underage adults and put the alcohol in the vehicle's trunk without speaking to them.

The man left before troopers realized he must have had a prearranged agreement to buy the alcohol for the youths.

Accused of being underage adults in possession of alcohol were: Jennifer L. Obrien, 19, of Sykesville; JamieS. Green, 18, of Sykesville; LindseyL. Mercer, 19, of Sykesville; and ChristinaL. Samuel, 18, of Mount Airy.

The maximum penalty is $500 on a first offense for furnishing alcohol to an underage adult, possessing alcohol by an underage adult or presenting false identification to purchase alcohol, said David P. Daggett, an assistant state's attorney.

Troopers checking for fake identification return valid ID cards to their owners with a business card that reads: "Your ID has been verified by a law enforcement officer." On the reverse side, the card's message is: "RAAM ... Do Not Distribute Alcohol to Minors.""We're all hoping word spreads that undercover troopers are in the package goods stores on the lookout for underage alcohol violations," Richardson said. "We want the program to act as an effective deterrent to keep alcohol out of the hands of underage drinkers, and we'll continue operating the RAAM program throughout the county."

RAAM is a joint effort by state police, the county liquor board, the sheriff, Board of Education, liquor retailers, the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention and Westminster police, plus Junction Inc., a substance abuse prevention and treatment facility in Westminster, said Richardson.

A story in Sunday's Carroll County section incorrectly said that nine people under age 21 cited for underage alcohol violations on May 12 had been arrested. In fact, they were only given civil citations to appear in court.The Sun regrets the error.
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