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Liquor store owners banned from selling alcohol after providing liquor to DUI driver who killed young family

In 2019, 20-year-old Carlo Navarro killed a family of three in Long Beach by hitting them with his car after he had illegally purchased whiskey from a Long Beach liquor store. Now the store owners who sold the alcohol to the underaged teen have been banned for life from holding a liquor license.

Amor Potestades Amacio, 60, and her daughter, Syntyche Amacio, 28, both of Norwalk, pleaded guilty for their roles in the deaths of the Awaida family, who were run over by Navarro near Los Cerritos Park in Long Beach.

The crash happened on Halloween night while Joseph Awaida, 30; his wife, Raihan Awaida, 32; and their 3-year-old son were walking home from trick-or-treating.

The father died the following morning, the little boy died two days later and the mother succumbed to her injuries the following month.

Navarro was arrested and later charged with three counts of murder for their deaths.

Video obtained by prosecutors showed Amor Amacio gave Navarro a bottle of whiskey for free sometime before that deadly crash. She did not check his ID, admitting that she knew he was underage because she had sold to him on other occasions, and instead told him to come back the following day with $25 to pay for the $16 bottle.

Navarro hit the young family with his SUV after “downing several shots of Jack Daniel’s,” according to the Long Beach Post News.

On Wednesday, Amor Amacio was convicted of furnishing alcohol to a minor who later caused great bodily damage or death. As a condition of her plea, she has now been banned from ever holding a liquor license or participating in businesses that sell or distribute alcohol. She was also sentenced to one year in jail, five years of probation and 720 hour of community service. She must also provide proof of up to $1 million in civil liability insurance to pay restitution to the victims of the deadly crash.

In addition to the charge for furnishing, she was also convicted of conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act because she was operating her liquor store, Green Diamond Liquor, without approval from ABC.

Her daughter, Syntyche, is recognized as the owner of Green Diamond Liquor, although Amor Amacio is the operator of the store. Syntyche applied for and received a liquor license for the store after her mother was convicted of welfare fraud and was placed on probation, which left her unlikely to obtain a liquor license.

Syntyche pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act for being the “paper owner” of the liquor store while allowing her mother to operate it. She was not present at the time when her mother gave the liquor to Navarro, and prosecutors say there was no past evidence that she had given alcohol to minors in the past.

Regardless, she also was banned from ever holding a liquor license, was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service.

Both women are also required to donate $1,000 to a local charity selected by the Awaida family.

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

Navarro, meanwhile, was convicted last week on three counts of murder for hitting and killing the Awaida family.

He is due back in court on Sept. 15.

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