Shopkeeper who gave whiskey to minor involved in fatal Long Beach crash is banned from alcohol sales

A woman bends over to place a bouquet among flowers, crosses, candles, balloons and signs on a sidewalk
Amy Garcia places a bouquet in November 2019 at a memorial near the site where Joseph and Raihan Awaida and their 3-year-old son, Omar, were struck and killed by an underage DUI driver on Halloween night in Long Beach.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The owners and operators of a Long Beach liquor store that gave a bottle of whiskey to a minor who later killed a family while driving drunk in 2019 received a lifetime ban from selling alcohol, the Long Beach prosecutor’s office said.

Amor Amacio, 60, of Norwalk pleaded guilty Wednesday to furnishing alcohol, a misdemeanor, to Carlo Navarro, now 20, from Green Diamond Liquor on Halloween night in 2019. A few hours later, Navarro struck and killed two parents and their 3-year-old son as they were walking on the sidewalk in Los Cerritos Park.

Navarro was convicted of three counts of murder on July 5, the Long Beach Post reported.

Amacio was permanently banned from holding a liquor license in California and was sentenced to 364 days in custody, five years of probation and 720 hours of community service. The time in custody may be served under house arrest, the Post reported.


Amacio is also required to submit proof of at least $1 million in civil liability insurance, which could be used for restitution to the family.

“This is one of the most tragic events to ever happen in Long Beach, and it was entirely preventable,” Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said in a statement. “There is nothing a misdemeanor case can do to bring justice to the Awaida family, but we hope this will help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”

The penalties against the warehouse owners and operators would be the largest issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.

July 15, 2022

Prosecutors said a video showed Amacio handing a bottle of whiskey to Navarro “without asking for identification or paying for the bottle,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Navarro said Amacio knew he was under 21 and had sold him alcohol on previous occasions.

“According to Navarro, he was told to bring $25 to the store the following day to pay for the $16 bottle of whiskey,” the prosecutor’s office said.

A few hours later, Navarro struck and killed Joseph Awaida, 30, his wife, Raihan Awaida, 32, and their 3-year-old son, Omar.

Amacio’s daughter, Syntyche Amacio, 28, also was banned from alcohol sales. She pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstruction of licensing provisions for becoming the “paper owner” of Green Diamond Liquor after her mother had pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in 2018 and lost the license to a previous store.


“Prosecutors allege the new store was operated by Amor Potestades Amacio, not by Syntyche, and that the license was sought in Syntyche Amacio’s name because ABC officials would not have issued a new liquor license to Amor,” prosecutors said.