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Buffalo Trace guard pleads guilty in theft case

A former security guard for Buffalo Trace has pleaded guilty to aiding a suspected crime ring that stole thousands of dollars worth of Bourbon barrels from the distillery.

Buffalo Trace Distillery
Wright pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of facilitation to receive stolen property worth more than US$10,000

Leslie Wright, 34, was accused of being paid to “look the other way” as 11 barrels were stolen as part of a suspected criminal syndicate.

Wright, who worked for the distillery for around two years, is the tenth person to be charged with involvement in the case, and previously admitted receiving a total of US$800 for allowing the theft of the barrels.

On Friday, through a plea arrangement, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of facilitation to receive stolen property worth more than US$10,000.

As part of the arrangement she will receive two years probation starting from now, on the condition that she testifies against others in the case.

However if she chooses not to co-operate prosecutors will ask for a 12-month prison sentence to be imposed.

In April this year nine people were charged with involvement in the case, accused of forming a criminal syndicate to steal and sell on supplies over several years with the help of workers at the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey Bourbon distilleries.

Police uncovered the operation after five barrels of Wild Turkey Bourbon worth US$30,000 were discovered in the backyard of Buffalo Trace worker Gilbert Thomas Curtsinger, who stands accused as the “ring leader” of the operation.

The crime ring was also charged for improperly obtaining and selling steroids.

Two of the nine members of the group – Michael Ballard and Ronnie Hubbard – have, since April, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to receive stolen property and agreed to work with prosecutors on the case.

Veteran police officer Michael Wells recently resigned from his post, after allegedly buying steroids from the group.

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