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Retailer Fights Back

A city convenience store owner strongly denied any wrongdoing in after a receiving a warning from the Department of Health and Human Services for allegedly selling tobacco to a minor.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services' Tobacco Control Program claim that Paul Santos, owner of Cal's Deli, sold cigarettes to a 16-year-old girl who was working with police. According to a police report filed by the minor, the girl said that a white male, whom she described as "cute" and 19 to 21 years old, sold her the cigarettes and checked to see if anyone was outside.

However, Santos, 23, said the stated purchase price in her report, $5.99, did not match the price charged by the store, and said the type of shirt she described also did not match, according to The Union-News. He is also the only male employee employed by the store

"I'm extremely upset," Santos said. "I am appalled the city would say such things that are not true."

The city's Tobacco Control Program stood by its report. The department had compliance checks at 179 retailers in May, with 14 failing the test. A second offense in one year results in a fine of $100, but Cal's was caught for the first time, the report said.
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