Paris Police Complete Tobacco Sting Operation - - No One Gets You Closer

Paris Police Complete Tobacco Sting Operation

The Paris Police Department recently completed a sting operation to combat the sale of tobacco products to minors.

"The investigation began June 30th and was headed up by Officers David Whitaker and Curtis Graham in the department's Community Oriented Policing Unit. The operation was in conjunction with the Tobacco Enforcement Program provided by a grant through the Texas State University.

During the operation, accompanied by plain clothes officers, underage individuals went to businesses and attempted to buy tobacco products with Texas driver's licenses which clearly established that the buyer was under age for that type of purchase. Each time the underage person attempted a buy, the undercover or plain clothes police officer witnessed the transaction and provided security for the buyer.

Officers went with the buyers as they attempted to purchase tobacco products at 51 locations in Paris.  If an illegal sale took place, the clerk completing the sale was issued a class ‘C' misdemeanor citation.  After an illegal buy or a sale that was refused, officers made contact with the management of the business and explained what had happened, reinforced what the law was and let them know that the officers would be back to see if illegal sales continued.  Officers issued 17 citations for illegal sales from the 51 locations visited. There were additional attempts at the stores which made an illegal transaction. One location received a second citation as the same buyer with the same ID dealing with the same clerk allowed a second illegal purchase to take place.

It is a violation of the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 161.082 to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18. The statewide average for persons selling tobacco products to a minor is around 10%. Our operation revealed a 33% illegal sale rate in Paris. Tobacco products are harmful to anyone's health. These products are especially detrimental to the health of a younger person.  A youngster may not be sufficiently mature to weigh the risks of consuming these products to their long and short term health.

The operation will be repeated and we hope the percentage of illegal sales will be reduced. For further information, please contact Officer David Whitaker at 903-783-4746 or Officer Curtis Graham at 903-737-4137."