CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – An undercover sting catches several local stores selling the banned version of Four Loko.
Now we're told Chesterfield Police have launched an investigation. The people who carried out the sting say it could have just been a misunderstanding and here's why: the is a regular version of the alcoholic drink and the banned one are almost identical.
Investigators are now trying to figure out how to enforce this ban. The caffeinated version of the drink Four Loko has been banned by the FDA. But after a recent sting, Chesterfield Police found that not everyone in the area was complying with the new regulation.
"It was a shock," said Wayne Frith with S.A.F.E. "There was so much emphasis put on alcohol energy drinks and how dangerous they are, we thought back in November when the Food and Drug Administration ruled that they were hazardous products and had to be removed from the shelves we thought the problem had been solved."
Frith works for Substance Abuse Free Environment or S.A.F.E. for short. His non-profit organization was a part of the undercover sting that checked 161 area stores, many of which were still selling the banned drink.
"I'm not at liberty to tell you which stores at this point," said Frith. "I can't tell you which stores because there's some investigation because they are illegal products."
NBC12 was able to find out the names of some of the stores targeted. Tuesday night, our undercover camera found they were now only selling the legal version of Four Loko. Another one had removed the drink from shelves all together. The problem now is enforcing the ban.
"So it's really a food and drug issue, it's not really law enforcement," said Frith. "And we have heard reports from around the state of Virginia that there are, especially conveniences stores, in a lot of communities that still have the old kind of Four Loko."
The sting was done from December 20th through the 31st. Initially they were looking to see which stores were selling alcohol to minors. Most stores did not. We checked and the only major difference between the banned Four Loko and the one allowed for sale is the ingredients list. The banned one says it contains caffeine, the other version does not.