The County is Wet, but Bootleggers are Still in Business

(KTRE News Photo)
(KTRE News Photo)

Lufkin resident Willie Coleman remembers the days when there were beer and wine bootleggers on just about every corner in town. Many of them are gone now, but there are still several places in town where alcoholic beverages are sold illegally.

"They're really not concerned who they sell to because they're looking at making money," said Coleman. "I feel it's less convenient [to buy from bootleggers] than back in the day because you just had more places that you could purchase the beer from. Back in the day, the bootleggers would stay up to one or two or three o'clock to sell you beer, now most bootleggers shut down about 10:00 p.m."

A lot of bootleggers shut down a few months ago, almost as soon as Angelina County went wet. But authorities know some of them are still in business.

Lt. David Young said, "We really haven't heard much about bootlegging since Lufkin has gone wet, but there is a group out there that will still want to buy it during off hours and the possibility's [to buy alcohol from bootleggers] out there."

And bootlegging booze is not limited to certain communities.

"You have a lot of young kids that can't buy it at the store but they can go to the bootlegger and buy it, so that's a bad thing," said Coleman. "Bootleggers are everywhere - it's not primarily on the north side, it's everywhere."

Selling alcohol in a dry county is a misdemeanor. But even in a wet area, if it is sold illegally, it is still a crime.

People in several Angelina County towns are planning to stop alcohol sales in their communities. Here is a list of wet/dry elections planned over the coming months: Hudson voters will debate the wet/dry issue in November. Both Zavalla and Huntington will have a wet/dry election in May.

Residents of Diboll are also circulating a petition to stop retail alcohol sales there.