Defendants considered part of a crime syndicate
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 21, 2015) — A grand jury today indicted nine people on charges of stealing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey from Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey, reports The Associated Press. All nine defendants are charged with engaging in organized crime as members of a criminal syndicate.
The stolen barrels were found in Frankfort behind the home of longtime Buffalo Trace employee Gilbert Thomas Curtsinger. He has pleaded not guilty to multiple offenses, including receiving stolen property over $10,000.
Authorities also recovered more than two dozen bottles of stolen Pappy Van Winkle whiskey and have identified from 20-25 cases of stolen Pappy Van Winkle linked to Curtsinger.
The thefts had reportedly been going on since 2008 or 2009.
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton estimated the 15 recovered barrels, which each weigh more than 500 pounds, are worth at least $100,000.
Curtsinger, who also is charged with trafficking in anabolic steroids, has been identified as the ringleader. His wife, Julie Curtsinger, who is not a distillery worker, was also indicted.
Wild Turkey posted a comment on Facebook that read: “We want to thank the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department for their swift detective work identifying the alleged thieves of the Wild Turkey and Pappy Van Winkle.”