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Facebook moonshine probe leads to three arrests

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 12:56 PM

LAKELAND, Fla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Police in Florida said a Facebook post offering illegal moonshine for sale led to the arrests of three people in an undercover operation.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said detectives received a tip Jan. 12 about illegal moonshine being offered for sale on the Facebook page of Alton Trowell, 31, of Lakeland.

An undercover detective called the phone number on the Facebook page the following day and spoke with Christie Comkowycz, 31, Trowell's live-in girlfriend.

"Are you a cop? Cause I don't want to go to jail," Comkowycz allegedly asked during the conversation.

The detective arranged to meet with Comkowycz, who arrived at the arranged place with her roommate, Dalton Ridlon, 20.

Detectives arrested Comkowycz and Ridlon after they allegedly sold the illicit alcohol to the undercover officers at $20 per pint.

Police seized the moonshine, which was packaged in mason jars, and Comkowycz told investigators she advertised the alcohol on Trowell's Facebook page because he had been arrested and she was trying to raise bail money.

Comkowycz told deputies she purchased the moonshine from Richard Lott, 48, who works at Mizkan distillery in Lake Alfred.

Undercover detectives contacted Lott, who offered to sell the 192-proof grain alcohol for $20.00 per gallon.

Lott was arrested with assistance from Lake Alfred police. He told investigators he had taken the moonshine from the distillery before it was processed and reduced.

Lott told police he traded the moonshine to Comkowyz in exchange for meth.

Comkowycz was charged with possession of one or more gallons of illegal liquor, conspiracy to violate beverage law and unlawful possession/sale/transportation of alcohol.

Ridlon was charged with conspiracy to violate beverage law and unlawful possession/sale/transportation of alcohol.

Lott was charged with use of a two-way device to commit a felony, conspiracy to violate beverage law and unlawful possession/sale/transportation of alcohol.

All of the charges are felonies, the sheriff's office said.

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