3 accused of underage drinking

COVINGTON - Three young men found with cans of beer and bottles of wine and smelling of alcohol behind Don's Superette on U.S. Highway 278, as well as the store clerk who allegedly sold them the alcohol, were arrested by the Covington Police Department Tuesday night, according to CPD spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff.

Faiyaz Gilania, 31, of 1207 Leafstone Drive, was charged with underage alcohol sales in connection with the incident.

The three men - Ivan Acker, 18, of 649 Level Creek Road, Sugar Hill; Martin Keith, 20, of 509 Westchester Drive, Decatur; and John Lucey, 19, of 9085 N. Green Brook Court, River Hills, Wis. - were all charged with possession/consumption of alcohol by a minor.

According to an incident report completed by Officer Stanley Moore, he spotted a red Mini Cooper parked in the rear of the convenience store. He thought the occupants looked suspicious and stopped and asked why they were parked in the rear of the building.

Acker, the driver, said he had let Lucey out to go into the store to buy a pack of cigarettes and he decided to park in the rear of the store to wait for him because the parking lot in the front was full.

Officer Moore asked permission to search the vehicle and Acker agreed, but Moore said when Acker stepped out of the vehicle he could smell a strong odor of alcohol. Acker denied, however, that he had had anything to drink. When the other passengers exited, Moore said he also detected an odor of alcohol on them.

Moore found two cans of beer under the passenger seat along with two 24-ounce bottles of wine.

Acker and Keith both tested positive for alcohol and all three were arrested and transported to Newton County Detention Center.

The store employee was issued a citation for selling alcohol to a minor and admitted to the officer that he did not check the ID of the person purchasing the alcohol because he verbally advised him he was over 21.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.