Suspects in high-profile bourbon heist take plea deal

Suspects in high-profile bourbon heist take plea deal

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Two of the nine people indicted in a high-profile bourbon heist and steroid crime ring have taken plea deals.

Franklin County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Zach Becker said Michael Shaun Ballard and Ronnie Lee Hubbard pleaded guilty to amended charges in court Wednesday.

According to Hubbard's indictment, he had an agreement with the accused ringleader of the operation, Gilbert "Toby" Curtsinger, a former Buffalo Trace employee. As part of the agreement Hubbard would obtain full bourbon barrels while Ballard's indictment stated he acted as a middle man to sell the bourbon, which was stolen from Buffalo Trace.

Becker said under the plea deal Ballard and Hubbard will testify against Curtsinger.

Prosecutors said the group's scheme lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars worth of whiskey.

On March 11, 2015, police recovered five barrels from Curtsinger's home. An additional 12 barrels were recovered from locations in Scott, Harrison and Laurel counties. The group is also accused of trafficking in anabolic steroids on a continuing basis.

Julie Curtsinger, Mark S. Searcy, Dusty H. Adkins, Christopher L. Preston, Joshua T. Preston and Robert M. McKinney are also facing charges in the case. Everyone charged in the case is expected to appear back in court on May 22, 2015.

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