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Police cite 7 youths underage drinking at club

August 04, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Police cited seven young adults for underage consumption of alcohol at a Martinsburg-area club that apparently promoted a "reunion" party on the Internet, Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth M. Lemaster Jr. said Tuesday.

The citations were issued on Saturday morning by members of the West Virginia State Police and the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department at The Martinsburg Drink at 1179 Winchester Ave., Sheriff Kenneth M. Lemaster Jr. said.

The police went to the club about 1 a.m. after a West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration investigator requested assistance, Lemaster said.

The Internet promotion of the party included the words "18 to chill, 21 to spill," Lemaster said.

In West Virginia, it is legal for individuals who are 18 years old to enter an ABCA-licensed club, but they are not permitted to drink, Lemaster said.

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ABCA spokesman Gary "Gig" Robinson confirmed Tuesday that the agency's online license database indicates the club is owned by James B. Nelson Jr. The club also has been cited by the ABCA for violations at least four times since the "private club" license was issued to the business in December 2000, he said.

In February, the ABCA cited the club for operating "after (closing) hours" that are set by state law and fined the club $150, Robinson said.

In May 2008, the club was fined $150 for underage alcohol sales, Robinson said. The club also was cited in April 2003 and March 2001 for underage sales and operating after hours, and fined a total of $650 for those violations, he said.

The incident on Saturday remains under investigation by the ABCA, which has discretion to suspend or revoke licenses to serve alcohol, in addition to issuing fines and warnings to businesses.

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