ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla.-- The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office announced the results of an undercover operation over the weekend that tested 171 businesses on their ability to comply with laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol, tobacco and nicotine products to minors.
In Florida, the sale of tobacco or nicotine products to anyone under 18-years-old is illegal.
“Of the 171 locations that were tested, 28 failed to comply with state law,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara in a news release.
The locations that were checked included convenience stores, bars, grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants and vapor shops.
Sheriff’s office explorers, who are minors, went into the businesses to test whether store clerks and wait staff would ask for an identification.
According to Mascara, the most problematic businesses were the vapor stores.
The locations that complied with the law were awarded a decal to display in their store that certified them as a 2017 “partner in responsibility” as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” consumer education campaign.
Those that did not comply will have to appear in court for the misdemeanor violations.
Mascara visited several of the compliant business Monday to hand them their decal, and thank them for turning away minors.
That included a stop at the Met Mart in Port St. Lucie. Owner Hemnt Patel said he stops anywhere from one to two minors each week from buying tobacco or alcohol.
“I was shocked when I see Mr. Mascara here. I was stunned first of all…He said here you go, you passed the test. I said that’s great,” Patel said.
Patel hopes the new decal he received will show minors that he does check IDs and deter them from trying to buy at his store.
The following stores were not compliant with state law:
- Gio-Joe’s Pizzeria - Alcohol 8900 – 8902 S. U.S.1 - Port St. Lucie
- Chevron Food Mart - Alcohol 2360 SE Rivergate Pkwy.- Port St. Lucie
- Cumberland Farms - Alcohol 975 Seaway Dr. - Fort Pierce
- Lakewood Park Market - Alcohol 5214 Turnpike Feeder Rd.- Fort Pierce
- Sake Too Japanese and Thai Restaurant – Alcohol 10785 SW Tradition Square - Port St. Lucie
- Harper’s Billiards - Alcohol 337 SE Port St Lucie Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Shindigs Irish Pub - Alcohol 464 SW Port St Lucie Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Princess Liquors - Alcohol 466 SW Port St Lucie Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Longhorn Steak House - Alcohol 10201 Meeting Place - Port St. Lucie
- Cumberland Farms - Alcohol 973 SW Del Rio Blvd.- Port St. Lucie
- Chevron - Tobacco 511 S 4th St.- Fort Pierce
- Exxon - Tobacco 1311 25th St.- Fort Pierce
- St. Lucie Inn – Warrant Arrest - Alcohol 2101 Old Dixie HWY - Fort Pierce
- Fort Pierce Food and Gas – Alcohol 2840 N U.S. 1 - Fort Pierce
- Azteca Mexican Store - Alcohol 102 Angle Road Rd. - Fort Pierce
- Mobil – Alcohol 7049 Okeechobee Rd. - Fort Pierce
- Loves Travel Stop – Alcohol 200 S Kings Hwy.- Fort Pierce
- CVS Pharmacy – Alcohol 1891 N U.S. Hwy 1 - Fort Pierce
- Speedway – Tobacco 149 NW Bayshore Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Racetrack-Tobacco221 Port St. Lucie Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- 7-Eleven – Tobacco 1690 SE Walton Rd. - Port St. Lucie
- Walgreens692 SW Prima Vista Blvd. – Tobacco - Port St. Lucie
- Texaco (Walmart Gas Station) – Tobacco 912 St. Lucie West Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Vape Rocket – Nicotine 897 E Prima Vista Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Boca Vapes – Nicotine 1004 St Lucie West Blvd. - Port St. Lucie
- Down 2 Earth Smoke Shop – Nicotine 1281 SW Del Rio Blvd.- Port St. Lucie
- E Cigs N Stuff - Nicotine 920 SW Bayshore Blvd. - Port St. Lucie