Restaurant’s Liquor License Suspended After Death of Underage Patron Who Was Served Alcohol

A San Diego restaurant has had its liquor license suspended after serving alcohol to a minor who later died in a car crash. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigated Las Tres Catrinas, located at 555 Broadway, Suite 1084, in San Diego’s South County of Chula Vista, and found that employees had repeatedly served 20-year-old Jonathan Ortiz Zaragoza without ever checking his ID. After leaving the establishment on January 16, 2022, the patron lost his life in a single-vehicle car crash.

The California ABC immediately opened a Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) investigation to determine the source of the alcohol that was illegally served. The inquiry found that two Las Tres Catrinas servers, overseen by a manager, had furnished alcoholic beverages to a minor resulting in death. In response, Las Tres Catrinas agreed to a 30-day suspension of its liquor license, with a one-year revocation stayed. The company cannot sell alcohol for the next 30 days, and if any other violations occur within the one-year stayed period, ABC has authority to revoke the license permanently.

While GBOD Hospitality Group currently oversees Las Tres Catrinas, they did not have ownership when the violation occurred. GBOD also owns and operates several other downtown San Diego restaurants, including Mezé Greek Fusion, El Chingon, Prohibition Lounge, and Havana 1920, as well as sister concepts Monello and Bencotto located in Little Italy. Las Tres Catrinas is situated at 555 Broadway, Suite 1019, in San Diego’s South County of Chula Vista.

The suspension of the liquor license is a consequence of the hazards associated with underage drinking and the indisputable need to observe alcohol-related regulations. By ignoring regulations, Las Tres Catrinas not only violated the law, but its actions also resulted in the loss of a young life. The punishment meted seems reasonable and intended to serve as a warning to other businesses operating in the same capacity. It also highlights the importance of respecting state regulations and checks to avoid such attacks in the future.

In conclusion, the suspension of Las Tres Catrinas’ liquor license is an appropriate response from the ABC. Given the critical role of alcohol in promoting lawlessness, the authorities will use the ruling as an example of what awaits anyone that flouts rules around serving alcohol to minors. It is therefore incumbent upon all businesses to put measures in place to prevent acts of illegality within their premises. Good conduct will undoubtedly lead to peaceful coexistence, and all stakeholders must play their role in creating an environment that celebrates safety and responsibility.

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