Alcohol compliance sweep leads to two firings Friday

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Crime: NM SID conducted operations in Los Alamos

By Whitney Jones

A random compliance sweep Friday put two alcohol servers in Los Alamos out of work.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety Special Investigation Department’s Lt. Chris Ortiz said officers conducted a minor compliance operation at 11 establishments in Los Alamos that sell alcohol.
“Two locations sold to a minor,” Ortiz said.
He said the operation involved an undercover minor, which the department recruits and trains to go into liquor stores to buy a six-pack of beer or stroll up to a bar and order a drink.
“Just like anyone,” he said. Meanwhile, an undercover agent is already waiting inside the establishment to see what unfolds.
The Aspen Lounge’s Jason Minturn and the Blue Window Bistro’s Holly Mechels were casualties of the Friday night sweep. Both failed to ask for identification and sold the minor alcohol, Ortiz said.
Bistro owner Melissa Paternoster, who said she walked in just 30 seconds after Mechels served the beer to the minor, took the sweep as an eye-opener.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “We were busy, but it’s no excuse.”

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