- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Two people have pleaded guilty in connection with a central Kentucky bourbon theft ring.

Franklin County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zach Becker told The State Journal that Michael Shaun Ballard and Ronnie Lee Hubbard pleaded guilty Wednesday to amended charges in exchange for cooperating in prosecution of other defendants in the case. WLEX-TV said the men pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Nine people were charged in the case last month. Officials said the scheme involved tens of thousands of dollars in whiskey since 2008. The case unfolded when barrels were discovered behind a shed behind another defendant’s home.

Officials have said the theft included pricey Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

The plea agreements say Ballard was a middle man for co-defendant Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger and that Hubbard obtained full barrels of bourbon in an agreement with Curtsinger.

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