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May 7, 2024

Operation Pop Top: Two sales clerks arrested for illegal alcohol sales

Media Contact: Brian Bruchey, PIO

Two Winter Haven convenience store clerks were arrested for illegal alcohol sales on Monday, May 6, 2024 by deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

The arrests were the latest in the PCSO's Operation Pop Top, wherein deputies visit area stores testing them to see if they would sell alcoholic beverages to someone under 21 years of age--a violation of state law. 

"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 made visits to seven Winter Haven stores and were assisted by a 17-year old member of the PCSO Cadets, a program for high school students interested in a career in law enforcement.

The Cadet made attempts to purchase an alcoholic beverage at each stop, and was successful at two stores;

Arrested were:
Sean Axel Colon-Rivera, 20, a sales clerk at the Circle K store at 1000 1st St South, and Ebony Mitchell, 44, sales clerk at 7-Eleven at 1099 1st St S. 

Both were charged with Selling Alcohol to a Person Under 21 Years of Age, a misdemeanor.

In addition to those seven stores, deputies and the Cadet also visited two stores to ensure they were compliant with Kratom sales.