"More than 100 agencies came together for this," said Ontario police Cpl. Bill Russell. "Modesto was in charge of Northern California. "
The law enforcement agencies, including the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, arrested 475 people on Friday, shattering last year's arrest numbers of 435, according to a news release. Of the 475, 50 were arrested on suspicion of other crimes such as drug offenses, illegal gun possession, public drunkenness, parole violations and outstanding warrants.
Friday's operation was the second time a shoulder-tap effort was conducted statewide.
A total of 12 people were cited and released in Ontario, said Russell, adding that about 82 people were contacted during the decoy operation.
Volunteers under the legal drinking age of 21 would act as decoys outside various businesses that sell alcohol, explained Russell. The decoys would then approach adults, make it clear they were underage and ask the adults to purchase alcohol for them, according to authorities.
After the money and alcohol were exchanged, officers would then make the arrest, Russell said.
In Ontario, all those found to have purchased alcohol for the minors were cited at the scene and released.
"When officers made contact with the adults they were told they were being arrested for purchasing alcohol for a minor, which is a crime," Russell said.
Statewide, 3,157 adults were contacted to make the illegal alcohol purchases.
The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can lead to a host of social problems, including an increased chance of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and compromised health. Unintentional injury or death are also possibilities, according to the AMA.
Many local operations were funded by the California ABC through the department's Grant Assistance Program, and some were funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.