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Oct 4, 2023

OPERATION POP TOP: Two arrested for selling alcohol to 17-year old

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

Two Winter Haven store clerks were arrested Tuesday, October 3, 2023, during the Polk County Sheriff's Office campaign against illegal alcohol sales.

The clerks were arrested after they sold alcoholic beverages to a 17-year old who was assisting PCSO deputies during their Operation Pop-Top visits to Winter Haven area stores.

The 17-year old is a member of the PCSO Explorers, a program for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement. 

The special operation visits stores throughout the county to ensure that they are not selling alcoholic beverages to people under 21 years of age, per state law.

Deputies visited six Winter Haven stores on Tuesday, and four of them refused to sell the beverage to the teen.

"We should be seeing 100% of the stores refusing to sell alcohol to anyone under 21, but we don't--and that's why we will continue to do these visits. These stores and the clerks have a responsibility to check ID's and refuse to sell to anyone who is not old enough." - Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Deputies arrested 57-year old Cristina Laranjeria from the 7-Eleven store at 7011 Cypress Gardens Boulevard and 45-year old Angel Vento from the Sunoco at 4033 Dundee Road.

Both were charged with Selling Alcoholic Beverages to Person under 21, a misdemeanor.