RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — 259 people were charged with alcohol, drug, firearm, driving and gambling offenses Friday night in a statewide operation, according to North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE).
ALE says that local, state and federal agencies all assisted in the operation, targeting violence and illegal activity anywhere that sold alcohol in the state.
“Alcohol use is a factor in many crimes, including violence and dangerous driving. We partner with and educate businesses on responsible alcohol sales to mitigate the negative impacts on our communities,” Director of North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Bryan House said.
ALE says they provided multiple educational programs to ABC-licensed businesses and employees in the weeks leading up to the operation.
Included in the programs were training on common ABC laws, rules and regulations, responsible alcoholic beverage sales, recognizing fake IDs and best practices for deterring crime.
Authorities say they executed nine search warrants throughout the state during the operation.
During the searches, authorities say they seized various substances such as fentanyl, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, 77 fake IDs and an illegal distillery. Authorities say they also seized six firearms, including an AR-15 illegally possessed by a felon.
Authorities say they handed out 597 charges, including 271 related to alcoholic beverages, 98 related to drugs and four related to impaired driving. A total of 59 felonies were among the charges as well.
According to ALE, an investigation in Havelock led to ABC permits being rejected for a local bar and lounge due to allegations of physical assaults by employees, intoxicated patrons leaving the bar and large fights in the parking lot.
ALE says they found an additional 14 ABC-permitted businesses operating in violation of state laws and regulations. ALE agents will report their findings to the ABC Commission, which can fine or suspend violators and revoke their ABC permit.
Agencies involved in the operation included the Greensboro Police Department, Mecklenburg County ABC Board Law Enforcement, Boone Police Department, Lenoir Police Department, Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office, Biscoe Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, NC DMV License and Theft, and United States Homeland Security Investigations.
Cities involved in the operation included Wilmington, Greenville, Durham, Greensboro, High Point, Charlotte, Boone, Conover, Wilkesboro, Lenoir, Fayetteville, Lumberton, Pembroke, Laurinburg, Lenoir, Biscoe, Yanceyville, Sylva, Cullowhee, and Dillsboro.