AG, DEQ announce charges against Shenandoah County distillery
Criminal charges have been filed in a case involving a distillery alleged to have dumped 40,000 gallons of industrial waste into a stream in Shenandoah County.
Filibuster Distillery LLC, Filibuster Barrels LLC and Sid Dilawri have been indicted on 115 counts of violating the State Water Control Law following a two-year investigation by the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, per a release from the state attorney general office.
Charges were handed down by a grand jury after presentation by the Office of the Attorney General and are the first criminal indictments related to environmental violations brought by the Office of the Attorney General and DEQ.
“All businesses, no matter what size they are, must adhere to state and federal environmental protections, and when they don’t, they will be held accountable,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “Not only did this distillery allegedly dump tens of thousands of gallons of industrial waste into a stream, Dilawri also allegedly lied about it to investigators, and that will not be tolerated in Virginia. I want to thank our partners at DEQ and the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal for their help and coordination on this case. I hope these charges will send a message to other businesses that Virginia takes protecting our environment very seriously.”
According to the indictments, the dumping of waste primarily occurred in November 2018, but the distillery continued to discharge industrial water with excessive levels of zinc and copper until at least September 2020.
Dilawri initially denied that any dumping occurred, and then claimed that there was a one-time accident at the distillery. However, he later admitted that he had given false information to law enforcement authorities and that he had known about the dumping.
DEQ staff, along with the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal Dave Ferguson and other authorities, have investigated the impact of the dumping on the stream as well as on the local community and worked with the OAG’s Environmental Section to bring this prosecution.
“DEQ unequivocally values Virginia’s waterways and works with vigor to protect them every day,” DEQ Director David Paylor said. “Today, DEQ took necessary steps to carry out our mission to protect and improve the environment for the health, well-being and quality of life of all Virginians. With cooperation and support from the Office of the Attorney General, DEQ will continue to hold violators accountable.”