NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - The North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency said they arrested more than 130 people on charges including illegal alcohol and drugs during a weekend operation May 4-6 following a statewide crackdown.
During the operation, agents in Hope Mills intercepted a suspect with a concealed handgun and a rifle outside a club where a person was shot a week earlier.
In Beaufort County, agents and sheriff's deputies raided two illegal bars where drugs were being sold.
Agents seized multiple small bags of cocaine from the owner of a private club in Asheville.
Agents and sheriff's deputies located and seized an illegal moonshine distillery and raided two illegal bars in Franklin County.
Officials say the special operation used every available ALE agent in partnership with sheriffs, police chiefs, and other law enforcement partners.
They say their goal was to prevent violence and other criminal activity at locations that sell alcoholic beverages, both at Alcoholic Beverage Control permitted establishments and non-permitted locations, such as shot houses.
The 132 arrests resulted in 209 charges including 87 alcoholic beverage-related charges, 84 drug-related charges and 12 felonies.
ALE special agents will submit violation reports to the North Carolina ABC Commission documenting regulatory and/or law violations they observed at the 16 ABC-permitted businesses.
The violations could result in fines, suspensions or revocations of the ABC permits.
Eleven firearms, various amounts and types of controlled substances, non-tax paid spirituous liquor and two vehicles were seized across the state.
Five search warrants were executed.
"This operation is another example of ALE special agents partnering with other agencies to deter violence at nightclubs, bars and restaurants across the state," said Terrance Merriweather, ALE branch head. "ALE is committed to focusing efforts on addressing violence and other criminal activity to make communities safer."
The counties in which the operation was conducted included, but not limited to, the following: Cumberland, Buncombe, Cherokee, Beaufort, Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Onslow, Carteret, New Hanover, Columbus, Forsyth, Wake, Franklin, and Catawba.
ALE's 109 specially trained agents reportedly have the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense.