Members of Willie Nelson's band cited for moonshine, drugs

Posted January 28, 2010
Updated January 29, 2010

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— The North Carolina Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement cited members of Willie Nelson’s band for possession of moonshine and a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, officials said Friday.

Nelson, 76, was scheduled to perform in Kenansville at the Duplin County Events Center on Thursday night. A message on Nelson’s Web site said the performance was canceled because Nelson’s hand, which he had carpel tunnel surgery on, was in “terrible pain.”

Concert promoters told WRAL News that Nelson was sick. The Web site said the show is being rescheduled.

Nelson was not present at the time six of his band members and crew were cited, said Ernie Seneca, spokesman for the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.

An ALE agent was walking near the band's bus when he smelled marijuana, Seneca said, so he asked to search the bus and was granted permission.

In the past, Nelson has been arrested for drug possession and tax evasion.

Nelson, originally of Abbott, Texas, has enjoyed a decades-long career as a singer-songwriter. Some of his hits have included “On the Road Again,” “To All the Girls I’ve Love Before” and “Always on My Mind,” which was covered by “American Idol” finalist and Chapel Hill resident Anoop Desai.


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  • keeter Jan 29, 2010

    it's just a plant

    And I can brew my own beer but not my own liquor


  • Scrat Jan 29, 2010

    No, I don't think everyone going to see Willie has an "illegal smile", but the mindset (?) of "law enforcement" is that everyone does. Your son was nearby, so they figured he must have a stash, too. This is a tactic long used by the powers that be to raise revenue, and make it look like they are "tough on crime". It sure is a lot safer than going after actual criminals. If all these uptight people would go burn one, maybe they would mellow out a little, and have some fun. We can drink, so what is the big deal about smoking "the finer tobaccos"? Thank the big pharma and distillery shareholders for THAT! They don't want to see it legalized, it cuts into their bottom line.

  • amyrn Jan 29, 2010

    Scrat, my son was the one pulled for the seatbelt violation and he wasn't even going to the concert. He was headed out of town in the opposite direction. Yes, they can pull you for any little thing. Didn't turn your signal light on? Pull you over and search the seat belt, same thing. Not everyone going to the concert had weed on them (saw quite a bit of alcohol). This was an unusual group of people, from the very young to some that were pretty elderly. Everyone going knows about Willie Nelson and none of them care. They just wanted to see the show. At least Asheville can say he canceled there tonight because of the weather. I heard he wasn't playing anywhere in NC as this was a state operation with the ALE.

  • thepeopleschamp Jan 29, 2010

    To those that continue to post comments like "why don't the police go catch real criminals", here are the headlines on right now; photos found on murder suspects phone, homeless man charged with sex crimes, boy takes loaded gun to school, man accused of exposing himself, three charged in shooting death, man convicted of murder, body found in backyard, pastor accused of pulling gun. My point is don't bash every officer there is based on the actions of 1 or 2 you don't agree with.

  • Scrat Jan 29, 2010

    Sounds like profiling. If you are going to see Willie, you probably have some ganja on you. All that is left to do at that point is to stop someone for a "seatbelt violation", and then ask to search the vehicle. They know you won't say no even if you don't have anything in the car, who wants to wait for a search warrant? A seatbelt violation is not probable cause to search someone's car, I don't think. And if it is, it shouldn't be. This used to be a free country, before "law enforcement" became a business. I hope Willie never comes back to this place again. Serves them right.

  • amyrn Jan 29, 2010

    Um. Please excuse the typos and the misspelled words in my posts! It's been an exhausting week!

  • amyrn Jan 29, 2010

    Cont. The Duplin Events Center has had a rocky road. Finally, some decent artists were coming..Jason Aldean, Larry the Cable Guy and Willie Nelson. Who do you think will want to come here now? Even though our local authorities supposedly had nothing to do with it, people are not hearing that. They are just hearing Duplin County and Kenansville. Another point, does it take a full blown investigation to know that Willie's band is going to have pot on it??? The best part, though, is Willie wasn't even ticketed.

  • amyrn Jan 29, 2010

    Hello, I haven't had a chance to post until now. I was at the concert, front row seats. This was a set up. The ALE officer were in Kenansville at approximately 3:30. I know this because they were driving a white mustang and stopped by son for a "seat belt violation." Searched him, the passenger and the vehicle..then let him go without a ticket (they found nothing) because he was so cooperative. The passenger was at the concert and called my son to tell him the same two guys in the White Mustang were there. I live three minutes from the venue so no big deal for me. But, one older couple there had traveled two hours, rented a room and it was her Christmas present. She had missed her Uncle's funeral because it was at the same time as the concert and in Virginia. Yes, refunds will be made but what about the money spent by all those people on gas, food and lodging?

  • Boogalooboy Jan 29, 2010

    oh no, not our big bad ALE week, jaywalking infractions,that will teach em'

  • thepeopleschamp Jan 29, 2010

    Funny how some golo'ers take their wrath out on each and every law enforcement officer in the state based on the actions of 1 or 2 ALE agents.