The Greenville County, SC sheriff's department, in collaboration with a local rehab house, announced yesterday that they had used Craigslist in an elaborate scheme to set up and catch men who like to party with 19-year-old women. According to FoxCarolina.com's article, the sting is funded by "a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" to the Phoenix Center to test new and creative "enforcement methods to stop adults from giving minors alcohol." Approximately 150 men responded to the ad for an underage drinking party held late in December 2012. They were required to provide a photo and RSVP for a specific time. The price of entry was a bottle of booze. Only 20 men actually showed up with the liquor and once they handed it over to the 19-year-old decoy, they were promptly arrested.
To watch WBTV 3's video, click on this link.
The laws they allegedly broke are known as the furnishing laws, which in South Carolina comprises two laws (SECTION 61-4-80. Purchase of beer or wine for a person to whom it cannot lawfully be sold and SECTION 61-4-90. Transfer of beer or wine for underage person's consumption). Each separately carries a fine of $200-300 and up to 30 days in jail for a first-time offender.
There are so many bizarre elements to this story, you'll have to decide which is the worst: the stupidity of the men who responded to the ad (have they never seen Dateline NBC's popular show "To Catch a Predator"?), the complex and ambitious multi-stage sting operation run by the county to catch these pathetic men, the involvement of a rehab house who designed the initial plan and applied for the grant or the strange use of taxpayer money by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a situation that didn't involve any highways, cars or drunk drivers.