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Central Los Angeles : 8 Snared in Cigarette Sting

August 09, 1995

Store owners apparently are getting the message in Huntington Park: Cigarettes sales to minors won't be tolerated in this city.

A weekend sting operation by police that sent teen-age volunteers into 20 stores to buy cigarettes snagged eight violators.

A much larger sting two years ago, which targeted 603 stores, found 211 violations. In 1992, city officials caught 426 of 603 stores selling cigarettes to minors.

Councilman Ric Loya, who has led the city's anti-tobacco campaign, said the apparent downturn in cigarette sales to children is encouraging.

"It's good that people are saying no," Loya said. "It means that 12 times someone said, 'No, we are not going to sell tobacco to you.' "

Although those caught in previous years' stings were just sent nasty letters by the city, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office agreed to file criminal complaints against anyone caught in last weekend's sting. Violators face a fine of $500 for a first-time conviction.

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