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Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Thursday March 9th, 2023 :: 05:11 p.m. PST


Tobacco Products Decoy Sting Operation Results in Arrest

Nature of Incident: Tobacco Products Decoy Sting Operation Results in Arrest
Report Number: 23-30776
Location: Various Retail Locations ~ City of Fillmore
Date & Time: March 9th, 2023 @ 9:30 AM  
Unit(s) Responsible: Fillmore School Resource Officer Unit
On March 9th, 2023, members of the Fillmore Police Department conducted tobacco stings, using an underage decoy, in an attempt to purchase tobacco products at retail establishments in the city of Fillmore and surrounding area. One cashier was cited for selling tobacco products to a customer under the age of 21.  The goal of this operation is to limit underage access to tobacco products and confirm businesses are operating within the law.
On June 9 of 2016, a law was passed which raised the minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21, except for active-duty military personnel in the U.S Armed Forces.  Electronic smoking devices are included in the definition of tobacco products. 
The underage decoy attempted to make purchases of tobacco products at 7 locations throughout the Fillmore area.  Cashiers at 6 of the establishments turned the decoy away without selling any tobacco products.  One failed to comply with the law and the purchase was made.
In an ongoing effort to prevent access to tobacco products by those under the age of 21, members of the School Resource Unit will continue to conduct periodic sting operations dealing with tobacco to confirm retailers in the area are doing their part to prevent minors’ access to tobacco products.
The suspect who sold tobacco products to the minor decoy was cited for a misdemeanor violation.  The Fillmore Police Department would like to thank the other 6 businesses that did not sell tobacco products to the underage decoy. 
Tobacco use and nicotine addiction are serious health issues for the youth of our community. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and the Fillmore Police Department are dedicated to serving the community and protecting the health of our youth through actively enforcing tobacco laws and regulations prohibiting the sales of tobacco products to people under the age of 21.
The Fillmore’s SROs have worked closely with California Department of Justice, the Ventura County Office of Behavioral Health, and the Ventura County Office of Education to educate and enforce youth tobacco laws. The SROs proactively engage the youth in the Fillmore School District and educate them about the dangers of tobacco while providing exciting programs as interventions for tobacco use. The SROs also work with the Detective Bureau to conduct compliance checks and investigations into businesses that may supply tobacco to youth in the community.
Prepared by: Sergeant Will Hollowell  
News Release Date: 03/09/2023  
Media Follow-Up Contact: Deputy Jonathan Schnereger
(805) 524-2233
Approved by:
Booking Photo Release:
Captain Eduardo Malagon
 YES     NO  
Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime.  The caller may remain anonymous.  The call is not recorded.  Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
800 S Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511

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