Agents bust man selling vodka illegally on Instagram
BATON ROUGE - Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents arrested a Baton Rouge man accused of selling illegal alcohol online without a state or local permit on Wednesday.
ATC agents arrested 28-year-old Jeffrey Daniels at his home Wednesday and booked him into parish prison on charges of selling alcohol without a state or local permit.
The investigation into Daniels' online activity began after ATC got an anonymous tip.
Agents located Daniels' username, "Honey Dew Fusions," on Instagram and observed messages between buyers and the "Honey Dew Fusions" account that referenced the cost of bottles of fruit-infused vodka. Investigators also noted posts that referenced the location of the business as being within the Baton Rouge city limits.
An ATC undercover operative used an Instagram account to pose as a buyer and inquired about purchasing a bottle of the advertised vodka. Daniels responded to the message and provided details about the cost and quality of the product. The operative was able to purchase the alcohol for $20 through a PayPal account.
Several weeks later, a 750ml bottle of the alcohol arrived in a package with a return address located on Sherwood Commons Blvd. in Baton Rouge. The bottle was sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab where it was analyzed and determined to contain 11.4% alcohol by volume.
"They wanted to know the type of payment. They wanted to know the address but one question they did not ask was how old are you," ATC Commissioner Troy Herbert said.
Agents say Daniels did not make his own vodka, but instead bought cheap vodka and bottled it with various foods.
"We would have given him a permit had he met the certain requirements but making this stuff in your kitchen probably wouldn't have gotten you the permit," Herbert said. "Selling it without getting the proper permits or paying the taxes on it, especially over the Internet, he basically not only violated state laws but he also violated federal laws."