With help from underage decoys, officers made four arrests Sunday evening during an enforcement operation to limit alcohol access to minors.
Two arrests each were at the station in downtown Novato and the in Ignacio, according to acting Lt. Jennifer Welch.
Undercover officers saw Jesse Mattos, 37, of Novato furnish alcoholic drinks to a decoy in front of the Shell station at Vallejo Avenue and Redwood Boulevard. Mattos was given a field sobriety test, which he failed, and faced a subsequent charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In Ignacio, underage decoys approached a young man to buy alcohol for them and officers witnessed him make the purchase and leave the convenience store. He turned over the alcohol to a young woman who was not associated with the decoy, then provided beverages to the decoys while saving some for himself, Welch said.
Officers contacted the young man, a Novato resident who was underage and used a fake identification card to make the purchases. He was cited and released to a guardian, as was the underage girl, who was from Sonoma.
Back at the Shell station, Marco Antonio Gomez, 26, of Santa Rosa bought alcoholic beverages for the decoys and was arrested, Welch said. He had an outstanding felony no-bail warrant from Sonoma County and was booked at Marin County Jail for the warrant and furnishing alcohol to a minor.
The decoys are volunteers under the age of 21 but appear under 18, according to police.
Novato police regularly conduct enforcement operations such as shoulder taps (wherein youths ask people to buy them booze), store decoy operations, educational classes and trainings for officers. The department is working closely with schools and the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth to educate people about the dangers of youth access to alcohol. Citizens are encouraged to report teenage drinking and locations where alcohol is provided to youth.