Two Franklin women arrested for allegedly operating ‘shot houses’

Published 6:21 pm Thursday, April 7, 2011

FRANKLIN—Two Franklin women were arrested Thursday for operating what’s commonly known as a “shot house” or “nip joint” for allegedly selling alcohol from their homes without a license.

Charged for selling booze on three occasions to undercover investigators with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Franklin police were Mary Virginia Banks, 45, and Mary Teresa Spruill, 61.

Banks, who lives in the 500 block of Laurel Street,  and Spruill, who lives in the 400 block of Thomas Street, were allegedly selling beer and hard liquor, said Kathleen Shaw, spokeswoman for Alcohol Beverage Control.

A complaint by a resident triggered the six-week the investigation, Shaw said.

“Shot houses” are places where alcohol is sold without a license.

“Frequently it’s a home,” she said.

Special agents from Alcoholic Beverage Control along with the Franklin Police Department and Virginia State Police executed two search warrants on Thursday afternoon before making the arrest.

Banks and Spruill were charged with the sale of alcoholic beverages without a license and maintaining a common nuisance. Both charges are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail.

Both were booked and released from Western Tidewater Regional Jail.