Letters from TTb

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Letters from TTb

Postby Rogie » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:41 pm

Hello new to the forum and looking for some answers...

Bought a Still several years ago from HB stills. Its still in the box. Today I get a letter from TTB informing me that they have information that I may have purchased distillation equipment and that this is not legal.
Just wondering the following:
1) How Many people got these letters?
2) How Many people that received letters have made a purchase from H B Stills
3) What will be the follow up from TTB on this letter

This seems to me to be a big threat from the TTB to scare people. I guess if they sent out a hundred thousand of these letters it would not seem possible to follow up that number with site visits. If they sent out a hundred of them, people who bought stills mail order are fucked.
Interested in the opinions of other forum members that live in the United States particularly as it seems that this is a U.S. issue.
Thanks
Rogie
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Bing-Bot » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:07 pm

Welcome Rogie. Sorry you are not the first and prob not gonna be the last. I hope nothing comes from it. FL got hit with some busts :( Keep us informed.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Bob Loblaw » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:18 pm

My WAGNER (wild-ass guess not easily refuted) is that they sent out tens of thousands of these letters because that's how many stills, columns and boilers MHD, HB, et all have sold in the past 2-3 years. So somewhere between your two strawman cases.

But the TTB has (or at least I have seen claimed) 60 field agents focused on Alcohol. So they need cooperation from state-level resources. IMHO, they're going to follow up, but not at the 100% level. This is a going to happen state by state - not nationally. I'd agree with others that is best to be off the list, but if you are somewhere like Missouri where owning a still is now legal, I wish the TTB luck. Kind of like busting a pot dealer in Washington or Colorado.
Easiest way to avoid being on a TTB list is to not purchase a boiler, full column, or condensor from a retailer. Build your own.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Rogie » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:27 pm

I'm thinking that they are targeting the manufacturer...HB Stills. In the legal forum on this site there are multiple post from people who received the letters that state they made their purchase from HB Stills. My self included. Is it possible in your opinion that they could be trying to shut this manufacturer down by scaring their customer base, who will invariably turn to the internet and post "i bought mine here and i got a TTB notification" .
Thoughts???
R~
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Truckinbutch » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:58 pm

I think they will try to use as much low energy intimidation as they can muster and then make headline cases of a few poor folks that don't have the $ to put up a good fight to make examples and justify their own existence . Just like a Turner dog . One of them that turners dog food into dog shit and barks all night for no reason just to get fed the next day :(
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Johnny6 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:34 am

+1 on Rogie's comment.

To me it sounds a lot like they are trying to put pressure on the still manufacturers. If I had a choice to go after a still owner or the still manufacturer, I get a lot more mileage by going after the manufacturer. A bunch of these letters going out will definitely affect people considering to buy one.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby RandyMarshCT » Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:39 am

Rogie, they have sent letters to people with Brewhaus and Mile-Hi rigs as well. Many of them. They also sent these letters to many people who have AFP permits as well. It's a blanket operation based off of sales records that producers are required to turn over to the TTB if/when requested.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby acfixer69 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:09 am

Johnny6 wrote:+1 on Rogie's comment.

To me it sounds a lot like they are trying to put pressure on the still manufacturers. If I had a choice to go after a still owner or the still manufacturer, I get a lot more mileage by going after the manufacturer. A bunch of these letters going out will definitely affect people considering to buy one.


I don't think they are after the still makers not yet anyway. If they were the feds would do to them like they did to Dupont "freon manufactures" in the 80's. Pass a regulation that makes them require the seller of stills to get licensing proof from the buyer before they can sell to them. Large fines for not following regs.

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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby fly4awhiteguy » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:57 am

I recently received the same generic letter from the TTB with a copy of the press release concerning the FL busts. I haven't been active for years an only bought a boiler from Brewhaus several years ago. Made me a little nervous.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby LWTCS » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:52 am

acfixer69 wrote:I don't think they are after the still makers not yet anyway. If they were the feds would do to them like they did to Dupont "freon manufactures" in the 80's. Pass a regulation that makes them require the seller of stills to get licensing proof from the buyer before they can sell to them. Large fines for not following regs.


+1
The thing is with distillation, is that unlicensed guys (that have no equipment) looking to go pro have to have the equipment on the floor before they can get their licence. So in this instance they have to purchase with no licence.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby Ludwig404 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:29 am

There are other more active threads on this, and sorry for the length of this post, but for what it's worth, in my humble opinion (etc., etc.):
- The letter from the Bureau is intended to frighten. From the agency's point of view it is a valid enforcement tool because it inhibits people from being illegal distillers. It requires a low investment of investigative manpower - just demand Mile High or Brewhaus give you a list of addresses where they have sent distillation equipment in the last 3 years, and crank out form letters. Done and done.
- The letters are highly unlikely to be followed up by a visit from an agent with a search warrant. If they thought you to be a high-level moonshiner they in all probability would not warn you with a letter. I also doubt that high-level moonshiners buy hobby stills online.
- Nonetheless, be warned: they are capable of filing a few dozen criminal charges around the country just to spread the fear among hobby distillers and further prevent violations (from their perspective). If you bought a still from a manufacturer you are going to be on their radar.
- Whether or not you are doing anything illegal, it is your right in the U.S. of A. to refuse to answer questions and to require a warrant before anyone searches your car, home or business. Whether or not you are doing anything illegal, you should ALWAYS consult with a lawyer before answering questions if you find you are the subject of a criminal investigation. I am a criminal lawyer, have been one for a long time, and I have never known anyone accused of a crime who improved his case by talking to the police before he talked to his lawyer, or by giving consent to search his home or car.
- If you disregard the above suggestion, whatever you do, don't lie - it never works out in the end. The TTB agents have heard every story, explanation and excuse you ever thought of, and some you haven't. There is no penalty for staying silent - lying usually results in obstruction charges or worse.
- Whether or not you agree with the federal law related to distillation of spirits without a permit, it is the LAW. The decision to break the law should be preceded by a careful consideration of the answer to the question, "what happens if I get caught?" That answer depends to some extent, but it will cost you as much money as you have, in all probability; it will result in your having a criminal complaint filed against you, just like someone who makes meth or crack; it could cost you your freedom for anything from days to years; and it may severely limit your career options when all is said and done.
- If your dedication to the craft or your belief that an unjust law deserves to be broken is so strong that you must proceed, then as others have recommended: build your own still from common/innocent components; avoid buying parts or ingredients online or repeatedly from the same place; and do not tell anyone, and I mean anyone, what you are doing.
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Re: Letters from TTb

Postby mepete » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:49 am

I only bought a 2 inch to a 4 inch adapter with clamps and I got a nasty letter. From now on I will do business with plumbing supply or brew supply business. There is a very active drug dealer across the street from where I work and I personally have witnessed drug deals, shooting firearms in the city limits, but I have not seen them reading any letters. Selective enforcement of the law.
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