NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 24, 2011

Store to lose liquor license for 60 days

Marte-L's accused of selling alcohol to a minor on Sept. 2

SALISBURY — Marte-L's Convenience Store will lose its liquor license for 60 days later this year as a result of employees selling to a teenager.

The town Liquor Licensing Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to hand down the suspension after reviewing the latest incident of employees selling liquor to a minor at the Toll Road business.

The suspension period will begin Nov. 1 and extend through the end of the year, including New Year's Eve. During the suspension, Marte-L's must remove alcoholic beverages from its shelves, but may remain open to sell nonalcoholic items in its store, commissioners ruled.

The 60-day suspension is one of the most severe ever handed down by the seven-member commission. It came after a public hearing during which a number of commissioners expressed their frustration with Marte-L's for its continued failure to follow the law. The business is owned by Krishana Corp. and managed by Devyani Patel.

Commissioner John Guerin warned Patel's attorney, Mark Janos of Newburyport, to tell his client that another violation could be the business's last.

"If this comes up again, we'll be looking for (license) revocation," Guerin said.

Marte-L's has a history of selling to minors, racking up eight violations since 2001. Janos qualified the number, saying this was the third incident since the business was sold in October 2008. Its last infraction resulted in a 30-day suspension served in March 2009. There were five incidents under a previous owner between 2001 and 2008, Janos said.

The most recent infraction occurred Friday, Sept. 2, during a compliance check by Salisbury police, when the store sold alcohol to an 18-year-old male from Manchester, N.H.

Detective Sgt. Anthony King said two Salisbury officers were observing Marte-L's when a young-looking male rode up to the store on a motorcycle, went in and came out after purchasing alcohol. He remained in the parking lot until a 16-year-old Newburyport girl drove into the parking lot. The young man then gave the alcohol he had purchased to the girl.

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