A woman who prosecutors said operated a liquor store pleaded guilty Thursday to furnishing alcohol to a 20-year-old man who was subsequently involved in a DUI crash that killed a Long Beach couple and their 3-year-old son on Halloween night in 2019.
Just over a week after Carlo Navarro was convicted of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for the deadly crash, Amor Potestades Amacio of Norwalk pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor who consumed the alcohol and “thereby proximately causes great bodily injury to themselves or any other person,” as well as a count of conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act because she was operating a liquor store, Green Diamond Liquor, without approval from ABC, according to the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office.
A video obtained by prosecutors shows Amacio, now 60, handing a bottle of whiskey to Navarro without asking for identification or paying for the bottle, according to prosecutors. The young man said in a statement that the woman knew he was under 21, had sold him alcohol multiple times in the past and had directed him to return to the store the following day with $25 to pay for the $16 bottle of whiskey, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Amacio was banned from ever holding a liquor license or participating in any business or other commercial activity involving the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages in California, along with being sentenced to 364 days in custody, five years on probation and 720 hours of community service, according to prosecutors.
She was also ordered to submit proof of at least $1 million in civil liability insurance that may be used to pay restitution to the victims’ family, along with a $1,000 donation to a local charity selected by the victims’ family, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Her plea came eight days after jurors found Navarro, now 23, guilty in the Oct. 31, 2019, crash that killed Joseph Awaida, 30, his wife, Raihan Dakhil Awaida, 32, and their 3-year-old son, Omar, who were struck while walking in the area of Country Club Drive and Los Cerritos Park Place in Long Beach.
Navarro is facing a potential 45-years-to-life term in state prison, with sentencing set Sept. 15.
“This is one of the most tragic events to ever happen in Long Beach, and it was entirely preventable,” 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.”
Amacio’s daughter, Syntyche Amacio, 28, also of Norwalk, 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, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Prosecutors contended that Syntyche applied for and was issued a license to operate the liquor store in North Long Beach, but that the store was operated by her mother, whom prosecutors said would not have been issued a new liquor license after being convicted in a case involving food stamps.
The younger Amacio was not present when alcohol was provided to Navarro and there was no evidence she had provided alcohol to minors on previous occasions, prosecutors said.
Like her mother, Syntyche Amacio was also banned from holding a liquor license or participating in any business or other commercial activity involving the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages in California. She was also ordered to serve one year on probation, complete 40 hours of community service and to donate $1,000 to a local charity selected by the Awaida family, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.