BELTON -- Apparently the word is getting around: Alcohol and minors don't mix.
The Bell County Alcohol Intervention team -- BAIT -- made the rounds in western Bell County during the New Year's holiday weekend.
BAIT Administrator Don Engleking said just two of 20 businesses visited in the Killeen and Harker Heights areas sold alcohol to minors.
BAIT's third series of alcohol sting operations resulted in the fewest number and lowest percentage of alleged violators so far.
"That's an improvement," Engleking said Tuesday.
He said BAIT agents worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday, visiting retail establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores) that sell alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption.
Citations were issued to two Killeen businesses. They were both Mickey's convenience stores; one on Business U.S. 190 and the other on East Veteran's Memorial Boulevard.
A Nov. 17-18 sting in eastern Bell County resulted in 14 of 35 businesses being accused of selling alcohol to underage customers. It is illegal to sell alcohol to a person younger than 21.
In early December, BAIT visited 29 retail stores in Killeen and Harker Heights. Of that group, nine are now accused of selling alcohol to minors.
Engleking said all the BAIT volunteers are 18 or younger and all carry identification listing their rightful ages.
During the three weekends of stings, BAIT visited 74 retail businesses that sell alcohol for off-premise consumption.
Twenty-five businesses -- about one-in-three -- have been cited for selling to minors.
No one has been arrested and none of the businesses have been shut down.
Engleking said that since November BAIT has made about 140 visits and has not been at the same establishment more than once so far. He did not immediately have figures on how many of those 140 were cited for violations.
Clerks accused of selling to the minors were issued citations immediately and businesses receive after-the-fact notification from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Those accused of selling alcohol to minors can face two different kinds of penalties.
Individuals can be subject to misdemeanor criminal charges.
Businesses can face administrative sanctions from the TABC. These include license suspensions and fines.
The Bell County Alcohol Intervention Team is funded by a federal grant and its efforts are ongoing.
We'll be back out this week," Engleking said. "I don't know when."