ABC sting busts 17 for selling booze online via social media

Press release from Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Seventeen suspects have been charged with illegal sales of alcoholic beverages resulting from statewide sting operations targeting online ads on Craigslist and other social media outlets. Agents seized sixty-nine bottles of alcohol that were sold to them during the undercover operations which took place on street corners, parking lots, and places of business.

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Executive Director Clay Byrd cautions consumers of the inherent dangers of buying or selling beer, wine, or spirits through social media or unlicensed online marketplaces.

“Our agency has seen an increase in website and social media posts where buyers and sellers engage in illegal, unlicensed sale of alcohol,” said Executive Director Clay Byrd. “Any sales outside Tennessee’s regulatory structure and permitting process are not only illegal but could also pose a significant and unknown health risk.”

Without proper permits and licenses, unscrupulous sellers may produce fake or otherwise counterfeit products and sell these products to unsuspecting consumers. It is impossible for an alcohol manufacturer to guarantee the integrity of their product if it is sold outside the regulatory framework provided in federal and state law.

Youth access is another major concern for the TABC with unlicensed online transactions.  Law enforcement agents from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission spend a great deal of time protecting our youth by preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. Social media and unlicensed online marketplaces are extremely difficult to monitor since the exchange of products do not occur in a licensed location. The TABC hopes the information contained in this release will help educate parents about illegal alcohol sales to help protect the state’s youth.

In addition to the many public safety concerns, the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages results in tax evasion, which harms the economic interests of the state and creates an unfair burden for businesses that operate within the parameters of the law.

Illegal sales of alcohol can result in criminal penalties for sellers and for buyers. Consumers who see social media or other online posts for alcohol or suspect illegal alcohol sales activity should contact the TABC at 615-741-1602. For more information on state alcohol laws, please visit the TABC’s legal resources webpage:

14 Responses to ABC sting busts 17 for selling booze online via social media

  • So let me get this straight – a person purchase something legally and pays the tax on it which covers the tax free production of said product, whatever that product is really doesn’t matter, then goes online to sell the sell said product and suddenly you’re trafficking, tax evasion, and probably about 3 other felonies because of the old Laws left in place from prohibition to tax the every living crap out of things like alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, and now in multiple states marijunia ? Yeah, how about you stop harassing people for things so over regulated because of taxes that people have to go on the internet to find things they like because their states won’t let me legally just buy itmon the internet like Texas and about 17 other states, because the distributors in the 3 tier system have to feed the coffers of the TABC and the State.

    • Avatar
      Lu Cifer says:

      Stop. Whining.

    • Avatar
      christopher schirmer says:

      yeah because it is resold and taxes arent collected on the resale

    • Avatar
      Legal Distiller says:

      You should get your facts straight. Only Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska and New Hampshire—and the District of Columbia allow direct shipment of spiritous liquor. That’s 5 states, not 18. Feds control production, states control the sale. That’s the way Federal Alcohol Administration Act of 1935 was set up. If you mail it to one of the 45 states not listed above, you’re also in violation of the Webb-Kenyon Act, a federal Class A misdemeanor.

  • Avatar
    Pappy Van Winkle Supporter says:

    @ Pappy van winkle… Couldn’t have said it better! Cheers!

  • Avatar
    Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    Why don’t we get lobbyist to encourage Legislation to sell ALCOHOL at high school sporting events. One more thing just a question if Hitler was running against Bredesen who would the REPUBLICANS vote for?

  • Avatar
    Brad Dickey says:

    This has absolutely nothing to do with underage drinking. This has everything to do with control. Distributors and the TABC control what whisky is available in the state. If I want a bottle of Pappy or any BTAC i have to go to the secondary market. The distributors will not get their cut and the TABC loses the power they hold over availability. Why shouldn’t I be able to buy a rare bottle of bourbon from someone that wants to sell it to me? I can buy alcohol at an estate sale, so why not off craigs list?

  • Avatar
    George T Stagg says:

    @Tom Humphrey – fantastic write up sir thank you for letting us know how much safer our community is now that these scoundrels are off the street. I must have missed the part where you break down the loss of tax dollars incurred to the state due to these illegal sales (I’m guessing you either expect the buyer to 10-99 the seller or pay a second round of sales tax on the bottle? Or should the distillery pay another year of tax on the distillate?) vs the loss of tax dollars that went into paying for this massive sting. If you don’t mind please be a lamb and post a link.

    Wanted to make sure you know that your tireless work is fondly appreciated. It’s always a good day when we can ruin private citizens lives for selling their personal possessions while also keeping $2000 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle out of the hands of high school delinquents.


  • Avatar
    Gran Pappy says:

    Welcome to Trump’s America. Great again?

    • Avatar
      Trump Is Making America Great Again says:

      Sheep… keep watching CNN and believe everything they tell you, because they have been right on so many occasions. What does Trump have to do with the secondary market of liquor? Oh yeah, you liberals are so far left that you want the government to have total control of everything you do, hence the reason Trump should be determining when and where you should buy alcohol and every other decision your mind cannot free think for yourself. If you didn’t understand what I said, I’ll speak in your language “BAAA! BAAAAA! BAAAA! BAAAAAAHH!!!”

      • Avatar
        Dotard says:

        Yikes, you seem to be confused – Trump loves the expansion of the police state, plus he hates alcohol so he’s so excited that Ivanka better lock her bedroom door tonight. Oh by the way, did you see Trump melt down on Fox this morning?

  • Avatar
    James says:

    I’m tired of being told that I can’t sell my collection of rare scotch without some license. Why is it you can sell pretty much everything else on Craigslist or EBay and no one cares about taxes?! but sell one bottle of a rare bourbon or whiskey and you are breaking several laws. Obviously, I’m selling to an over 21 collector as well! Don’t tell me about taxes when it is a rigged system! I was actually busted for selling a collectors edition of rare scotch. I put the ad on Craigslist, under the “Collectors” section. I listed that it was meant for collecting and you would need to prove you were over 21. I get a text over several days from a “collector” who offers to buy in a safe location. Guess, what, not one but “8” officers did a sting and converged on me at the sale. 8!!! I’m glad to see our state resources being so overly used for a couple hundred dollar transaction, while meth is being made across the street. They also handcuffed me and made me feel like I was a hardened criminal. Nope, just an old man trying to pay some bills and unload a collection he no longer wants. They also confiscated my scotch, which really makes me mad. Write me a ticket but give me back the item I purchased legally and paid taxes on and have owned for years. Never broke a law in my life and was ignorant to the laws of selling a collection and all of this crap. It is overkill! Hopefully at court I will get possession back but the officers said it’s unlikely. With all the real crime out there this is the best out state can do. Pathetic.

    • Avatar
      Pissed off says:

      Spot on. This is an absolute joke. 8 cops for a few hundred dollars in booze? What a waste of tax payer money. Good paying jobs with huge benefits and pensions for these ABC officers and you are catching people selling collectible bottles you can’t find on the selves?!? Way to catch the bad guys here dickheads!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *