Three clerks, who work at the Shell Gas Station, 952 Nord Ave., Chevron Gas Station, 1025 Nord Ave., and Anthony’s Liquor, 2101 The Esplanade, were cited for selling alcohol to minors, Chico police Lt. Mike O’Brien said.

Authorities made compliance checks at five Chico locations, but only three sold to the minor decoys, he said. It was a short operation, but to have that many indicates that there’s a problem.

People who sold alcohol to minors face a minimum fine of $250 and or 24 to 36 hours of community service for the first violation.

ABC will also look into taking further action against the three businesses where alcohol was sold, O’Brien said.

The penalties may include a fine, a suspension or the permanent revocation of their alcohol license.

Authorities also conducted a decoy shoulder tap operation, which requires a minor to stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask people to buy them alcohol, according to police. The minor must indicate he or she is under 21 years old and cannot buy alcohol. If the adult buys alcohol for the minor, the buyer is arrested and cited.

 The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service, according to the press release.

O’Brien said only one person was cited, but he did no immediately know how many people had been approached.

It’s been at least a couple of years since a similar operation was conducted in Chico, O’Brien said. The Chico police Target Team use to do them when it was staffed.

Chico police currently has an ABC grant that allows for the operations and Tuesday’s event was just a test run to see what the compliance check would yield, O’Brien said.

When a majority of businesses are selling to minors, especially because Chico has a high student population, it’s worrying, he said.

“This will be the first of many as part of this grant,” O’Brien said.