Law Enforcement - History

The history behind Wake County ABC Law Enforcement

In January 1920 the 18th Amendment (prohibition amendment) took effect, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transportation, import, and export of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes. During the next thirteen years the illicit alcohol trade increased drastically.

In December 1933 the total prohibition of alcohol was repealed with the passage of the 21st Amendment.

In 1937 the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act Election was held in Wake County. This act was passed with 7,921 votes for the sale of spirituous liquor over the 6,565 votes being registered against the sale of spirituous liquor.

The Wake County Board of Alcoholic Control was established in July of 1937.

Mr. H.V. Andrews was elected as the first Wake County ABC Officer on July 7, 1937. By June 30, 1938 Officer Andrews filed a law enforcement report indicating the arrest of 234 people in violation of illegal liquor trade. Officer Andrews also reported the destruction of 52 illegal stills, 4 boiler operations, 49,150 gallons of mash, 2000 pounds of sugar, and 1,235 gallons of non-tax paid liquor commonly referred to as “moonshine”.

Over the next decade, the Wake County ABC Law Enforcement grew to capacity of eight sworn local officers as they continued to battle the illicit “moonshine” trade. A report filed for FY 1940-1941 indicated that Wake County ABC Law Enforcement made 429 arrests that resulted in the seizure and destruction of 85 illegal liquor stills, 3 boiler operations, 28,137 gallons of mash, and over 1,600 gallons of “moonshine”.

The concentrated enforcement on illegal liquor manufacturing continued in Wake County through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and even into the 1970’s. As Wake County grew and became more urban the illegal manufacturing trade began to decline allowing officers to focus enforcement efforts on a broader scope of the ABC Laws.