ALE, Duplin County Sheriff’s deputies and Kenansville police didn’t smell pot before they busted Willie Nelson’s band and crew in Kenansville. The bust had been planned for days.
ALE officers from across North Carolina forced access to a secured area backstage, yelling “Which bus is Willie’s?” “Where is Willie Nelson?”
Law enforcement prematurely blew it. Trying to grab headlines for busting Willie Nelson and family, they shot their wad before the man of the hour had arrived on site. ALE officers had to content themselves with giving criminal citations to Willie’s fans who were tailgating on the Event Centers lawn and stopping passing vehicles for “license checks.”
Willie’s hand may have hurt, but the concert was cancelled because of the Narcs.
It is interesting to note that North Carolina District Attorney Dewey Hudson and Duplin County Sheriff Blake (Barney) Wallace were both at the concert. Hudson is running for Charlie Albertson’s NC Senate seat and Wallace is running for reelection.
This caper is reminiscent of former District Attorney Mike Nifong’s illegal prosecution of the Duke Lacross Team in a failed attempt to make headlines for his political campaign.
It’s also amazing that the Duplin County Sheriff’s department says they didn’t know anything about or participate in the bust when they had as many as fifteen deputies and narcotics officers at the concert in addition to the 13 ALE cops and the town’s police.
Willie played in Rome, Georgia the next night. His concert in Asheville, scheduled for Saturday, may have been officially cancelled because of the weather, but the fact is, Willie’s not returning to North Carolina for further harassment.
Here’s an official statement from ALE Special Agent in Charge Ted Carlton:
On Thursday, January 28, 2010, thirteen Alcohol Law Enforcement Agents conducted Operation “On the Road Again” at the scheduled Willie Nelson concert in Kenansville, North Carolina. This operation consisted of enforcement teams working in and around the Duplin Event Center just prior to the scheduled concert. During this operation Alcohol Law Enforcement Agents cited 14 people on 25 various criminal charges. ALE was assisted by the Kenansville Police Department and the Duplin County Sheriff’s Department.
At approximately 6:40pm Alcohol Law Enforcement Agents entered one of the recreational vehicles used by Mr. Nelson’s band. Six members of his band and crew were cited on charges of non tax-paid alcohol (moonshine) possession and the possession of marijuana. None of the band members were placed under arrest and taken into custody. They were all issued citations and released prior to the time they were scheduled to go on stage. The band members were very cooperative and told the ALE Agents they were the nicest law enforcement officers they had ever encountered.
At approximately 8:00pm the fans attending the concert received word that the concert would be canceled. At first it was perceived this was due to the arrest of band members. Bass player Dan Spears advised Special Agent in Charge Ted Carlton the cancelation was due to Mr. Nelson’s health and not the criminal citations issued to the band members. This was verified with follow up news reports relaying information from Mr. Nelson’s website.
The General Manager of the Event Center, John Duane Vogt, along with one of his employees was charged with interfering with an Alcohol Law Enforcement Agent while the agent was performing an inspection of the licensed premises. A violation report will be submitted to the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission concerning these charges.
The goal of these operations is to make communities safer and improve the quality of life for law abiding citizens.
If you have any further questions please give me a call.
Special Agent in Charge Ted Carlton
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