Redlands Police cited four people for selling cigarettes to a 19-year-old Redlands Police Department volunteer who worked directly with law enforcement during a Minor Decoy Operation Friday. The legal age to buy tobacco in California is 21.

Police visited 20 businesses licensed for tobacco sales in the City Friday, Jan. 15, while conducting a Minor Decoy operation. A Minor Decoy operation involves an underage volunteer who works under the direct supervision of a peace officer. The decoy will enter a licensed establishment and attempt to buy cigarettes. During decoy operations, minor decoys are required to answer truthfully if asked their age and they must provide valid identification indicating they are underage to buy tobacco if they are asked to do so.

Clerks at the Shell gas station at 941 California St., Circle K at 1325 Brookside Ave. and the 7-Eleven at 1161 Lugonia Ave. were each cited when they sold cigarettes to the volunteer without checking his identification or asking his age.

A clerk at ampm, 2098 W. Redlands Blvd., sold cigarettes to the volunteer after checking his identification and entering a false birthdate into the store’s computer system.

The operation was funded by a $57,060 State of California Department of Justice Tobacco Grant authorized by the Redlands City Council in January 2020.