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A Chesapeake man, inside info, rare bourbon bottles | A look at an Virginia ABC internal investigation

Two men face charges stemming from an internal investigation with the Virginia Alcohol and Beverage Control Authority. One of the men is a former employee.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — It's a rare find many people spend years searching for: limited-edition brands of bourbon whiskey. These enthusiasts call themselves "bourbon hunters" and many of them are here in Hampton Roads.

Bourbon is an aged liquor (sometimes up to 10 or 20 years) and that means distillers can’t just increase production to meet demand on a whim.

Virginia is also a controlled state for liquor, so when the most sought-after bottles are released, they’re allocated in very small quantities to certain stores. Even then, you can only buy one at a time. 

If you miss out, and you really wanted a specific bottle, you could end up paying ten times its retail cost on the secondary market.

The Virginia Alcohol and Beverage Control Authority (ABC) doesn't often tell the public exactly where these bottles can be found, either.  

However, a spokeswoman with the Virginia ABC said an internal investigation found that two men spilled information on the bottles' whereabouts. One of those men is 45-year-old Robert Adams from Chesapeake.

Virginia ABC posted on Facebook in April, saying they will supply a limited-availability bourbon at select stores. Officials said this was a way to create a fair search among "bourbon hunters."

Investigators said Adams worked with a now former employee, Edgar Garcia.

The ABC spokeswoman said Garcia worked as a lead sales associate from February 2020 until March 2022. The investigation accused Garcia of leaking inside information regarding the location of the rare bourbon bottles at the ABC stores.

Police arrested both Adams and Garcia in June on embezzlement and computer trespassing charges. The two are currently out on bond.

Court documents said the offense date is November 2021.

Adams' attorney says his client pleads not guilty in this case. He is scheduled to appear for a jury trial in Hanover County where prosecutors will try the case in December. 

Garcia is scheduled to appear in Hanover County court again in September.

We reached out to the prosecutor handling this trial to learn more, including why the case is going before a Hanover judge, but we have not yet heard back.

Adams also faces charges in Chesapeake, including illegally selling alcohol.

13News Now asked Chesapeake police if these charges are related to this internal investigation, but a spokesman said he could not speak on the matter, since Chesapeake detectives are not investigating this case.

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