Update: 20 cited in Hawkins underage beer sales sting

Jeff Bobo • Feb 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Update: 5:48 p.m.

The Rogersville Police Department participated in the joint underage beer sales sting with the state ABC and HCSO Thursday, checking all 14 beer-selling establishments in the city and citing three for underage beer sales. Those three are in addition to the 17 cited by the HCSO Thursday and Friday, for an overall countywide total of 20.

See Wednesday's edition of the Kingsport Times-News for the names of the businesses, and clerk or bartender cited.

Update: 11:50 a.m.

During the last week of January, Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson was contacted by the state's Alcoholic Beverage Commission for assistance in an investigation of the sale of alcohol to minors. The ABC has been conducting such investigations across East Tennessee for the past several months.

During the course of the investigation, ABC agents, local agencies and Hawkins County Sheriff's Office deputies went throughout the county where alcohol is sold. At the conclusion of the two-day investigation Thursday and Friday, 17 businesses had allegedly sold beer to a minor.

The first phase of the investigation is complete. Future investigations will be conducted as time permits. The employee at the business who sold the beer was cited into General Sessions Court for sale of alcohol to a minor.

"The investigation is solely a response to maintaining compliance in our community of alcohol sales," said Sheriff Ronnie Lawson. "The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office works closely with all agencies for the betterment of the community. The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office wants to thank Alcoholic Beverage Commission and local agencies assisting in conducting the investigation. The investigation is not designed to bring negative impact on the businesses, but to keep the employees working at the business attentive when checking the identification of the ones who attempt to purchase the alcohol in Hawkins County."

The control of underage sale of alcohol is the most important tool that law enforcement and the community have in deterring anyone under the age of 21 from obtaining alcohol. Lawson said the investigation is continuing and that no other information or details will be released at this time.


ROGERSVILLE - Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson confirmed to the Times-News Monday that his department conducted a successful underage beer sales sting operation last Thursday and Friday.

A total of 17 beer-selling establishments were cited including 10 located within a municipality and seven located in unincorporated parts of the county. Some of the establishments cited are stores, and at least one is a bar, Lawson said.

The reports were still being compiled Monday and the investigation is ongoing, but Lawson said anticipated releasing more information at some point Tuesday.

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