FBI Helps Nab 10 in "Bootlegging" Bust; One Man Faced Prison Time for Selling a 12-Pack of Natty Ice

When the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office announced yesterday that a six-month "bootlegging" investigation ended with 10 arrests, we were thinking it was a trip back to prohibition, involving Tommy guns, fedoras, and the phrase "G-Men."

Nah, we checked out the criminal complaints, and it took six months to round up some Native American folks who allegedly sold some bottles of malt liquor or crappy beer.

Yes, the FBI is apparently publicizing the fact that undercover cops went to a house on the Navajo Reservation to buy a 12-pack of Natty Ice.

That's just one charge in one of the cases, but selling intoxicating liquor in "Indian country" can land someone in prison for a year, and also get slapped with a $100,000 fine, we learned to day.

All 10 of the people arrested are from the Navajo Nation, where alcohol sales are prohibited. Thus, it's a federal crime to sell a 12-pack of shitty beer or any other alcohol there.

The Navajo Nation has contended for quite some time that its people have had extreme problems with alcoholism, and it's apparently still at the point where undercover cops are buying 12-packs of Natty Ice, or in another complaint, three bottles of malt liquor -- and the FBI's involved.

The going price for the 12-pack, the three bottles of malt liquor, and on another occasion, a flask-sized bottle of crappy vodka, were all $20.

According to federal court documents, seven of the 10 people -- ranging in age from 19 to 58 -- took plea deals, leading to a year on probation.

The other three people were caught with either meth or marijuana, according to their criminal complaints, so they haven't gotten the luxury of a plea deal.

And today you learned, there are "bootlegging" investigations in 2012.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley