MARTINEZ (KRON) — An East Bay business man is facing multiple felony charges after he was found to be in possession of dozens of illegal firearms including a grenade launcher, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced Friday.
53-year-old Sterling Hartwell Albert, of Martinez, was arrested at his business on an arrest warrant obtained by ABC Agents.
According to a release from the ABC, agents had had been investigating a complaint that distilled rum and whisky were being manufactured and sold illegally at a storefront located at 5052 Forni Drive, Suite C in Concord.
“ABC Agents conducted an undercover investigation and obtained search warrants for both the business and the suspect’s residence,” the agency said.
Agents seized two illegal stills at a storefront in Concord along with more than 200 gallons of illegal distilled spirits and over 500 cases of illegally produced wine.
“Illegal stills are potentially explosive and can pose a significant threat to public safety. A distilled spirit made illegally may also not be safe to consume,” the agency said.
The possession of unregistered stills and the production of distilled spirits without a federal permit and without payment of tax are federal felony offenses which may result in the seizure and forfeiture of land and other property associated with the illegal activity.
Agents also also conducted a search at Albert’s residence and found “multiple illegal firearms including a grenade launcher, fully-automatic assault rifles and silencers.”
Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Team, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Task Force assisted in the investigation.