Unlicensed East Bay Winemaker Had Illegal Stash of Guns, Including Grenade Launchers, State Says - NBC Bay Area
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Unlicensed East Bay Winemaker Had Illegal Stash of Guns, Including Grenade Launchers, State Says

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    Sterling Albert is seen in the tasting room at his winery in Concord in this 2009 file photo.

    California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who went after an alleged bootlegging operation in the East Bay say they also seized an arsenal of firepower, more than 40 illegal and unregistered guns, from assault rifles to grenade launchers.

    Officials say the weapons were found at the Martinez home of winemaker Sterling Albert. A few miles away, at the homeowner's Concord tasting room, 5052 Forni Drive, agents say they found two illegal stills and barrels of homemade alcohol and wine.

    Albert, 53, was booked into Contra Costa County jail and held on $2 million bail, jail records show.

    "Producing distilled spirits with a still, you have to have a license," said ABC spokesperson John Carr. "If you don't, you're looking at a felony charge."

    Possession of illegal and unregistered guns carries added more felonies. Investigators still don't know why the suspect had all those guns.

    Albert's winery and distilling operation was not a secret. It was open to the public and even had Yelp reviews.

    "Great host," one Yelp reviewer wrote in October. "Really knowledgeable and passionate A good number or tastes for the price. It's a good deal."

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