A huge shipment of illegal alcohol delivered to an Eastern Shore government-run liquor board has raised eyebrows in the Maryland Comptroller’s office, and will have to be shipped back to where it came from, according to comptroller's office officials.
For the second time in less than a year, the Maryland Comptroller's office is looking into the alleged unlawful business dealings of the Worcester County Department of Liquor Control.
Last Friday, field enforcement officers descended on the county’s warehouse, reportedly seizing documents and a portion of the $175,000 shipment the county purchased from the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control board. This was after after it was reported that the transaction did not have the required license Alabama needs to sell booze in Maryland.
In a case like this, the Comptroller would have normally seized all of the illegal booze, officials say, but they admitted this week they had neither the space nor the manpower to store it. The comptroller instead has instructed the county liquor board to send the liquor back to Alabama.
Worcester officials say they jumped the gun on the Alabama deal, and are helping the state get the proper licensing so they can secure larger discounts on bulk liquor sales than they could get from Maryland wholesalers.
This new county-run entity was established just five months ago, after the comptroller’s last investigation found the previous liquor board guilty of breaking several state laws including price discrimination, illegal sales, and smuggling unlicensed products over state lines.