Leader of Bourbon crime ring pleads guilty

21st September, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

The leader of a criminal gang that stole more than US$100,000 worth of Bourbon from the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries has pleaded guilty to amended charges.

The case has been on-going since 2014

As reported by The Guardian, former Buffalo Trace employee Gilbert Curtsinger faces up to 15 years in prison after entering the plea in Franklin County Circuit Court to charges including theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Curtsinger, described as the “ring leader” of a criminal syndicated that pilfered barrels of whiskey from Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey, was first charged in 2015.

His initial charges included receiving stolen property of over US$10,000, four counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Among those indicted were Curtsinger’s wife Julie and her father, Robert McKinney.

Police uncovered the syndicate, reportedly formed by people who knew each other through softball, after five stolen barrels of Wild Turkey Bourbon worth US$30,000 were discovered in the backyard of Curtsinger.

Authorities linked the discovery of the Wild Turkey barrels to the theft of US$26,000 worth of rare Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon – which authorities had long thought to be the result of an inside job.

Police estimate the total amount of Bourbon stolen through the scheme, which operated for several years, amounts to US$100,000. The stolen liquid may be destroyed, authorities have previously said.

Curtsinger will be sentenced after the case against one last defendant – former Wild Turkey Distillery worker Mark Searcy – is concluded.

Buffalo Trace parent company Sazerac and Wild Turkey’s owner Gruppo Campari have been approached for comment.

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