Mammoth Lakes, CA – On Monday, January 20, 2020 members of the Mammoth
Lakes Police Department conducted a Tobacco Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation
outside of several businesses throughout the Town of Mammoth Lakes. The goal of
this operation was to limit minors’ access to tobacco products in the community by
identifying adults who will purchase these products for people under the age of 21.
Under the direct supervision of Officers, one minor decoy was stationed outside of
various licensed tobacco retailers. The undercover decoys then tried to “shoulder
tap” store patrons by telling them that they are minors and then asking the adults
to purchase tobacco products, including flavored vape liquid, for them. The minors
contacted 20 adults. Out of these 20, only 1 purchased a tobacco product for them.
This person was cited for PC 308(a) Furnishing Tobacco to a Minor, and is subject to
either criminal action for a misdemeanor or civil action brought by the district
attorney, punishable by a fine of two hundred dollars($200) for the first offense,
five hundred dollars ($500) for the second offense, and one thousand dollars
($1000) for the third offense.
This Operation was made possible by the California Department of Justice Tobacco
Grant Project, funded by Proposition 56, which was awarded to the Mammoth Lakes
Police Department to help combat underage tobacco sales, educate our business
owners and conduct community outreach on the dangers of tobacco.
Shoulder Tap and Minor Decoy Stings will continue this year with undercover
operations within Town limits. The Mammoth Lakes Police Department would like to
remind the businesses and residents of Mammoth Lakes that selling to and/or
purchasing tobacco products for minors under the age of 21 is illegal.