3 strikes in 5 weeks for selling alcohol, nicotine to minors, including 2x in 15 minutes

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Tue, September 13th 2022, 4:30 AM EDT)

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A liquor store clerk got stung during “a pre-planned operation to address complaints of underage alcoholic beverage and tobacco sales at stores in the village of Royal Palm Beach,” according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

The latest arrest report read, “A 20-year-old investigative aide [name] was observed by [a deputy] operating in an undercover capacity, purchasing a 24 oz. Twisted Tea alcoholic beverage from the defendant later identified as Mohammad Mahfuz.”

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That was last Thursday night, Sept. 8, at about 9 p.m.

The arrest report continued, “The investigative aide didn’t produce identification during the sale and was not asked their age during the sale. The investigative aide didn’t state their actual age of 20 prior to the sale. The investigative aide used recorded investigative funds and produced a $20 bill of U.S. currency [serial number] to purchase the Twisted Tea beverage.”

Then, the business had to conduct a return.

“The investigative aide received change from the sale that was returned to the store along with purchased item upon collection of the investigative funds,” the report said.

That was one count of selling alcohol to a person under 21.

The arrest report also mentioned Mahfuz, 58, was the clerk at Prime Liquors on Okeechobee Boulevard, but they must’ve already known that.

Mohammad Mahfuz was booked just after midnight Aug. 5 (nicotine) and again Sept. 9 (alcohol twice), 2022. (Palm Beach Co. Sheriff’s Office)

Just 15 minutes before, another arrest report with a different case number said an agent saw a couple leave the store “with a case of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and a case of Twisted Tea alcoholic beverages.”

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In addition, “Both subjects did not appear to be 21 years of age or older. I approached both subjects and asked for their identification cards, and were able to identify them as [a 19-year-old woman] and her boyfriend [a 20-year-old man]. I asked both subjects if the store clerk had requested their ID prior to making their alcoholic purchase to which they stated no. Contact was made with the defendant/clerk and he was identified by his Florida driver’s license as Mohammad Mahfuz.”

The agent wrote about getting sworn statements from the pair about their purchase with her debit card.

That’s a second count of selling alcohol to a person under 21.

He was booked on Sept. 9 at 1:37 a.m. and released just a few hours later, at 5:16 a.m. on his own recognizance. His arraignment is set for Oct. 4.

he would quit his job and never return to the store

But just five weeks earlier, an agent

“watched as a young male purchased an item and left in a vehicle by himself,” according to the arrest report. “I conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle for a traffic violation and the young male was identified as [name]. [He] is 16 years old and he gave me a sworn statement that he purchased a HCD strawberry/watermelon nicotine vape pen from the cashier in the store with orange shirt and glasses. [The boy] stated that he had purchased approximately 50 nicotine vape pens from this store and everyone at Seminole Ridge High School knows that the sell [sic] vapes and alcohol to underage children.”

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The agent continued, “I went to the store and I identified the clerk by his Florida driver’s license as Mohammad Mahfuz. Mohammad Mahfuz is the clerk at Prime Liquors [address]. Mahfuz was wearing an orange shirt and glasses as I saw him in the back of the store. I made contact and explained to Mahfuz why I was there. Mahfuz stated (without being questioned) that he was sorry and he would quit his job and never return to the store. Mufflers was insisted on the fact that he did not sell to an underage person and that he checks everyone’s identification.”

He was charged with selling nicotine to a person under 21 and arrested.

In that trip to jail, he was booked on Aug. 5 at 12:32 a.m. and released less than three hours later at 3:14 a.m. on his own recognizance.

But there’s more.

Mahfuz’s arraignment had been scheduled for Oct. 25, but he signed a pretrial intervention agreement exactly two days before his more recent arrest.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 6, Mahfuz signed a form “to redirect this case into an alternative resolution/diversion program,” and he waived his right to a speedy trial.

and the defendant has not been arrested for new charges

The one-page form contained four provisions.

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The second said, “It is agreed that if all conditions are successfully completed in a timely manner and the defendant has not been arrested for new charges, has not received any additional Notices to Appear or Uniform Traffic Citations, has not been convicted of any new crimes, and does not fail to appear, the State will abandon prosecution of this case. The State can withdraw from this stipulation at any time.”

We do not yet know if the state has done that.

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