Governor Cuomo Announces Record Number of Fake ID Seizures and Underage Drinking Arrests

[New York Governor]

Governor Cuomo Announces Record Number of Fake... 

DMV Investigators Seize 862 Fraudulent Licenses and Arrest 818 Under Operation Prevent Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that underage drinking sweeps conducted by DMV investigators in 2016 resulted in the seizure of 862 fraudulent licenses and the arrest of 818 individuals for underage drinking, both single year records. Through the year-round Operation Prevent initiative, DMV investigators work with state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct underage drinking and fake ID sweeps at bars, restaurants and concert venues across New York. The previous record of 751 seized ID documents and 758 arrests was set in 2015.

"Underage drinking and fake IDs are not only illegal, but often lead to bad decisions that could have life-altering consequences," Governor Cuomo said. "These enforcement efforts protect young New Yorkers, help prevent unnecessary tragedies, while increasing safety on our roads and our communities." 

During Operation Prevent sweeps, DMV investigators work with state and local law enforcement agencies to check identification documents. Individuals under the age of 21 using fake IDs or false documents with the intent to purchase alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year. A breakdown of arrests and fake IDs seized in 2016 can be found online here.

DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “Our investigators performed a record number of arrests and license seizures in 2016, and in the process kept New York’s roads safer. No matter the season or time of year, DMV is hard at work on our ‘Operation Prevent’ initiative, which has proven to be a very effective tool in deterring high risk behaviors. I thank Governor Cuomo and our partners at the state and local levels for their continued support of our efforts to prevent underage drinking.” 

Today’s announcement supports the Governor’s focus on deterring underage drinking and preventing the purchase of false identification documents. On August 26, 2015 the Governor warned returning college students about the dangers of purchasing fake IDs over the Internet. On June 15, 2016 a crackdown at summer concerts was announced to deter underage drinking, and on August 23 the Governor announced a coordinated interagency effort to combat underage drinking on college campuses. 

Operation Prevent investigations are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to deter underage drinking and keep New York’s roadways safe. DMV also conducts operations at summer concerts, and at the request of bar owners, law enforcement, and the State Liquor Authority in larger cities and college towns.

In addition, the SLA continues to aggressively enforce underage drinking laws and provide education and training to our licensees. In 2016, the SLA issued 1,051 penalties to licensed retailers for underage sales. As part of Governor Cuomo’s coordinated effort to combat underage drinking, the SLA hosted eight day-long free compliance trainings for restaurant, bar owners and their staff across the state, with over 500 business owners and more than 750 employees receiving Alcohol Training and Awareness certification since September. 

SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said, “Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors remains a top priority for the State Liquor Authority. Under Governor Cuomo, state agencies including DMV, OASAS and the State Police have coordinated our efforts to crack down on illegal sales and prevent young New Yorkers from purchasing and abusing alcohol.” 

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "The State Police will continue to work with our partners to discourage, detect and apprehend underage drinkers. The use of alcohol by minors all too often leads to needless, preventable tragedies, and it will not be tolerated. I want to applaud all of our partners for their efforts to make the Operation Prevent Initiative a success.”

OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “One of the best ways to continue address underage and binge drinking, and the preventable resulting tragedies, is to focus on education and prevention. Taking an active role in prevention of underage substance use - working with parents, schools, law enforcement, community partners and providers - is an essential part of the solution. Our Talk2Prevent website,, has useful tools to help adults talk with young people about the potential risks and dangers of underage and binge drinking and drug use.”

For more information about DMV, please visit

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Missing snowboarder found safe; sheriff says he was drunk

[Independent Record]

Tom Reid, director of Great Divide volunteer ski patrol, comes down Hiballer at Great Divide ski area.

A 20-year-old snowboarder was charged with underage possession of alcohol after he became disoriented at a ski area west of Helena and search and rescue crews were called in to look for him.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Tristan Colwell of Helena was last seen at about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday at Great Divide Ski Area. Crews at the ski area launched a search on foot and snowmobile, but recognizing the coming darkness, called at 3:41 p.m. for Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue to assist.

“It was admirable for them to ask for help. I’m very pleased with the response from the ski hill,” Dutton said.

As the searchers organized around 4:30 p.m. a member of the ski area crew following tracks discovered Colwell, who Dutton estimates was 2 to 3 miles from the area boundary.

“He had been walking and got off trail and kept going,” Dutton said. “He was a substantial distance from the ski area, and had placed his snowboard in the middle of the road and got under a tree to stay warm."

Colwell was told to stay in place, and the crew member who found him dropped down to a ranch and called in the location. Search and rescue was able to snowmobile to the location and transport him out, Dutton said.

Colwell was cold but not hypothermic.

When interviewing him, Dutton says law enforcement noticed a “strong smell of alcohol” and cited Colwell for underage possession.

“He was intoxicated and off on the wrong trail, but I give him credit because he did not lose his sense of survival,” Dutton said.

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Female attempts to use another person’s ID

[Independent Record – Helena PD incident report]

December 16, 2016

  • At 10:05 pm, officers were called to a business in the 10 block of North Last Chance Gulch concerning a female attempting to use another person’s ID to purchase alcohol.  An officer is continuing to investigate.
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Missoula County kids' alcohol use is down from previous years.

[Missoula Forum for Children & Youth Article - December 9, 2016]

Adolescent Substance Use and Mental Health Data 

"Survey Breaks Down Substance Abuse, Mental Health Issues Among Missoula Youth"

Survey results detailing students' substance use and mental health show Missoula's kids are abusing drugs and alcohol less, though depression and suicide still loom.

This comes from the 2016 Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, conducted by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services' Addictive and Mental Disorders Division this spring in grades 8, 10 and 12. In Missoula County, 1,730 students participated.

"Our young people are doing the best they can to make good choices, however I think it's important that the public understands some of the struggles our young people are having," said Brandee Tyree, Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Prevention coordinator for Missoula Forum for Children and Youth. "I never like to paint a picture that's, 'Holy cow, young people are horrible, they're all out drinking and smoking."


By the time last year's Missoula County high school seniors made it to graduation, about 72 percent had imbibed alcohol at least once.

"I think we still need to work on in Montana ... that underage drinking is not a rite of passage," she said. "You don't have to do it to move into adulthood. I think adult Montanans drink a lot, so kids are no different. They mimic our behavior."

Missoula County kids' alcohol use is down from previous years.

"I believe prevention works," Tyree said. "I think we're talking more about mental health. Alcohol often can be seen as a stress reliever. Our parents' generation, alcohol is just alcohol. I am seeing that college kids (today) drink and drive way less than previous generations, and I think that alcohol is not quite as cool.

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Appalling’ Underage Drinking Parties Targeted by Grieving Parents of two students killed in Maryland

February 26, 2016 – ROCKVILLE, MD – The parents of a teenager killed after an underage drinking party turned grief into action this week to push for stronger laws.

Bills introduced in Annapolis would require toughen the penalties for the hosts of underage drinking parties.  House Bill 409, named Alex and Calvin’s Law, would be a penalty of one-year maximum in jail and double the fine from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense for providing alcohol to underage drinkers.  The proposals are spurred by two Montgomery County tragedies: the death of two Wootton High School graduates in June 2015 after attending an underage drinking party.  Kenneth Jay Saltzman of Potomac pleaded guilty in December to furnishing alcohol to a minor. He hosted the underage drinking party June 25, which was attended by Samuel Ellis, the former star quarterback at Thomas S. Wootton High School.

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger denounced the lax punishment – a $2,500 fine for the death of a teenager after a party – which is the maximum penalty under state law.  “This is not justice. These misguided parents will continue to break the law, kids will continue to be injured and killed, until there are real consequences for someone who hosts an underage drinking party,” Manger said at a press conference. “The state needs to show that it cares more about keeping kids safe than it does about allowing parents to throw an underage drinking party for their kids.”

Members of the Senate committee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday, drawing cheers from the crowd.  David Murk and Paul Li testified about the deaths of their sons following the teen party, and told legislators that parents continue to host underage parties.  “It was really appalling after the accident and the individual who was hosting the party that night paid a $5,000 fine,” Murk told lawmakers, according to FOX DC. “That was very hard for my wife and I to swallow when he paid a fine in District Court as if he was paying a parking ticket.”

To read the full story, visit their website:

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Are you ready to have a conversation with your teen?

Let's face it, it's difficult to start a conversation about alcohol use; the important thing is that you start.