A collaborative enforcement effort between Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), Virginia Counterdrug Task Force and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department is expected to result in multiple felony indictments in two Virginia counties.
A dozen ABC special agents, with assistance from Virginia Counterdrug Task Force, a division of the National Guard, conducted a two-day air and ground operation that resulted in the discovery and destruction of a 100-gallon operational black pot still, 150 gallons of mash, 22 gallons of untaxed liquor, various quantities of liquor-making supplies and assorted firearms in Franklin and Floyd counties.
The joint operation, a repeat of a successful effort last year, was the culmination of a year-long investigation of illegal whiskey manufacturing in a multi-county area, said Special Agent in Charge Kyle Blanks. During that period ABC special agents gathered intelligence before compiling a list of suspected sites.
The air/ground operation occurred March 28 and 29. Utilizing Virginia National Guard aircraft and pilots, ABC special agents functioned as in-air spotters and worked in tandem with enforcement personnel on the ground. Agents from ABC’s special operations unit led the effort with participation of agents from ABC’s Lynchburg and Roanoke offices.
The team flew over 26 pre-determined sites searching for stills and other illegal distilling apparatus. In addition to discovering the operation still, the task force also identified an indoor marijuana operation. Agents seized a large quantity of marijuana, as well as fans, grow lamps, power surge protectors, fertilizers, lime and other lab components.
“The focus of this cooperative effort was to locate and incapacitate existing stills,” said Blanks. “The operation was successful and one we’ll more than likely repeat.”
Pending discussions with the commonwealth’s attorney, criminal indictments will be sought in Franklin and Floyd counties for several suspects for possession of illegal still and distilling apparatus, possession of untaxed liquor, felony firearms violations by a convicted felon and the illegal manufacturing of marijuana.
ABC Agents Utilize Air/Ground Operation in Multi-Agency Enforcement Effort