Bootlegger Crack Down Dries Up Tyler Saturday Night

Saturday night, a task force made of thirty five different law enforcement agencies executed six warrants for arrests of suspected bootleggers. According to Lt. Steve Chaney of the Smith County Sheriff's Department, "Everything went really well. We hit six locations in about an hour and forty five minutes, and we got alcohol from every one of them. We consider that a success."

The warrants were set up by undercover officers, who made illegal buys earlier this week. Four arrests were made, with two others expected to turn themselves in. Between 60 and 65 cases of alcohol were confiscated.

Although bootlegging may invoke memories of Mayberry, modern day bootleggers don't have to make their alcohol. Bootleggers turn a profit in dry Smith County by selling alcohol at sometimes twice the price, and to any customer.

Lt. Trey Rusk of the TABC explains, "The problem with a dry area is that when we don't have the regulation by the TABC like we do in a wet area. These bootleggers don't care who they sell to. They could be minors, could be drunks. They're not regulated."

Surprisingly, no problems were reported with any of the arrests  and all the warrants were served peacefully. Lt. Chaney says, "They all know what they'e doing is illegal and they know sooner or later they'll get caught. A lot of these people that we ran are repeat offenders and they know how the system works."

Bootlegging is a class A misdemeanor, although repeat offenders could face state jail felonies.