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DeKalb County Sheriff's Office shuts down "large illegal winery" at the Rainsville Waste Water Treatment Plant

Part of what the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office described as an illegal winery that was discovered at the Rainsville Wast Water Treatment Plant on Thursday, December 17, 2020. (Courtesy: DCSO)
Part of what the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office described as an illegal winery that was discovered at the Rainsville Wast Water Treatment Plant on Thursday, December 17, 2020. (Courtesy: DCSO)

Investigators said the operation was likely going on for months at the facility.

Posted: Dec 17, 2020 10:16 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2020 3:04 AM

Multiple local and state agencies are investigating after the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said they were tipped off about a "large illegal winery" at the Rainsville Waste Water Treatment Plant.

On Thursday, investigators received an anonymous tip about the operation and coordinated with Mayor Roger Lingerfelt to gain access to the facility.

Once inside, they discovered what they described as a "large amount of illegal alcohol and a winery which appeared to be in operation for a long period of time."

Agents with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) were brought in to assist with the investigation. The sheriff's office said charges are expected in this case.

"I want to thank the mayor for his cooperation and willingness to allow law enforcement to do our job and shut something like this down. This is definitely one of the biggest operations we’ve seen in our county and possibly our state. A big thanks to the public and their tips against ALL illegal activities," said DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden in a statement.

"Once again, it doesn’t matter who you are, no one is above the law. We won’t tolerate anyone using their position to hide their illegal actions at the taxpayer’s expense," he added.

The sheriff's office said it expects to provide updates in the coming days on the investigation.

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