Area Police

Cuomo: Major progress in

underage-drinking crackdown

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the initial results of the New York state Liquor Authority and Department of Motor Vehicles joint efforts to combat underage drinking.

Last month, the Governor announced operations running through April to deploy enforcement investigators to over 500 licensed locations throughout New York. At the halfway mark into the statewide crackdown, SLA underage buyers have already visited 339 establishments, finding 92 locations making illegal sales. Additionally, DMV enforcement operations have resulted in 83 arrests of persons under 21 attempting to purchase alcohol and confiscated 92 fake IDs.

“Underage drinking is illegal, reckless, and can have life-altering consequences, and this crackdown is holding accountable those who seek to enable this dangerous behavior,” Cuomo said. “Using this multi-pronged approach, we will help keep our communities safe, our college campuses secure and our roadways free from drunk drivers.”

SLA investigators, working with underage buyers, conducted operations in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Western New York, with DMV investigators joining the SLA during inspections in Western New York, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley.

The list of the 92 businesses making sales to minors included none from Chautauqua or Cattaraugus counties and 14 in Erie County.

In addition to assisting in SLA operations, DMV’s Division of Field Investigation worked with the Albany Police Department, the Cortland Police Department, the New Paltz Police Department and the Hempstead Village Police Department to conduct Operation Prevent sweeps at dozens of establishments across the state.

Licensees charged with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting from $2,500 to $3,000 for a first-time offense. Repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses. Persons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent of purchasing alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office

¯ ELLINGTON — Natasha Luce, 24, of Randolf, was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operating without insurance after deputies responded to a motor vehicle accident on Saturday at about 7 p.m. According to reports, Luce had run a stop sign and hit another car head-on in an intersection. Luce was transported to UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital for minor injuries.

¯ MAYVILLE — Larry M. Houser, 32, of Westfield, was taken into custody on active warrants from Chautauqua Town Court on Sunday at about 12:45 a.m. Allegedly, deputies stopped the vehicle in which Houser was a passenger on South Erie Street for an equipment violation. Finding that Houser had warrants, deputies took him into custody and transported him to Chautauqua County Jail with a bail option.

¯ LAKEWOOD — Joseph J. Thayer, 40, of Jamestown, was charged with several offenses Saturday at about 11:30 p.m. According to reports, the vehicle in which he was a passenger was stopped by deputies on Fairmount Avenue for an alleged traffic violation; the 16-year-old female driver was found to be operating with the vehicle’s registration suspended. Thayer was identified, and found to be in possession of approximately half an ounce of crack cocaine and a small amount of marijuana. Thayer was additionally found to be in possession of packaging materials and a quantity of cash consistent with narcotic sales. Thayer was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Busti Town Court and taken to Chautauqua County Jail with no bail option.

¯ BROCTON — Ricardo Rivera, 34, of Dunkirk, was charged with several offenses Saturday shortly before 10 p.m. According to reports, deputies stopped his vehicle on Highland Avenue for an alleged traffic violation, and after identifying the driver as Rivera, deputies investigated and found him to be intoxicated. A check of his driving record revealed that he had a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated within 10 years, making this arrest a felony. Rivera was arrested and charged with felony DWI, felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and DWI per se. Rivera was arraigned in Portland Town Court and taken to Chautauqua County Jail.