COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Perry County man pleaded guilty in U. S. District Court on Thursday to violating the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and distributing illegally distributing opioid medication.
The Federal Alcohol Administration Act establishes national rules governing the distribution, production and importation of alcohol.
William D. Merckle, 57, of Corning, admitted to selling oxycodone or hydrocodone on three separate occasions in 2016 and 2017. He also admitted to unlawfully selling moonshine on eight occasions from 2015 through 2017.
According to court documents, the Ohio Department of Public Safety Ohio Investigative Unit received a complaint in October 2015 that Merckle was selling illegal moonshine at a local flea market known as Reinersville Trader Days.
Investigators say they witnessed Merckle selling moonshine from a camper at Reinersville Trader Days. They say that Merckle stated that he owned Straitsville Special Moonshine, LLC in New Straitsville, Ohio, but this moonshine was made “on the side” at his house.
Court documents say that some of the moonshine that was purchased by undercover agents was contaminated with copper, which investigators say is consistent with home distilling. They reported that at least one batch had an abv percentage of 71.8.
The spirits sold to the agents were in glass quart jars and were not properly sealed or labeled as required by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled, though a plea agreement recommends 60 days of home detention and two years of probation, along with restrictions on future liquor making and selling.
According to Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Merckle pleaded guilty to one count of distributing controlled substances and one count of selling distilled spirits in an improper container as part of his plea bargain.