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Two men arrested for allegedly selling alcoholic beverage as a soft drink

Two men have been arrested for selling an illicit alcoholic beverage to unlicensed stores throughout New Jersey area. The drink, Extracto de Malta, contains 3.5 percent alcohol by volume, according to laboratory results. This alcohol content is comparable to that of a light beer. The reason that the two men are in need of criminal defense is not that the drink is alcoholic. The reason is that store owners who sold the drink and consumers who purchased it were unaware of its alcohol content.

According to The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), this poses a significant health risk to the public. If stores are carrying alcoholic beverages and stocking them next to the soft drinks, a variety of dangers cannot be far behind. Children and pregnant women may be able to purchase the beverages, for example, and consume them without knowledge of the risks. Additionally, people may unwittingly get behind the wheel under the influence.

The ABC has granted storeowners who sell the drink a 10-day window to remove the item from their shelves. If any store continues to carry the product after Sept. 1, its owners may face fines or jail time for selling alcohol without a license. Indeed, most of the stores at which the beverage was found do not carry alcohol and are not licensed to do so.

According to the ABC, the two men responsible for the beverage's illegal sale made every attempt to hide their involvement and keep their activities as clandestine as possible. They do not have wholesaler's licenses, and the brand, Extracto de Malta, has not been registered in the state. In fact, there is no official record of Extracto de Malta at all. Falsified documents record the name of the beverage as Crema de Coco.

Source: njtoday.net, "Two Charged With Selling Illicit Alcoholic Beverage To NJ Stores," Aug. 23, 2012

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