Spring 1924: “We merely wanted to show that real liquor was being smuggled into this country.”

From the Chronicle, May 14, 1924

Paul Rubio Payne, alias Pane, Thomas Murphy, Percy Allen, alias Allender, Charles Munsun and Sidney Heild, allged professional bootleggers, and said to be operating a fleet of rum-running vessels between Vancouver and Pacific Coast points, were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury yesterday on conspiracy charges to violet the Volstead Act.

Allen, Munsun and Held were captured shortly after midnight, April 25, near New Year’s Point, a they were landing 241 cases of Canadian Club whiskey into automobiles. Four automobiles and the liquor were seized by Prohibition Director Rutter and four of his deputies, W.R. Paget, David W. Rinckel, Henry Toft and I.H. Cory. Payne and Murphy are said to have fled from the scene and since have been declared by the Government to be fugitives from justice.

The liquor, said to be of excellent quality, was landed at the Jay F. Steele, Steele being a member of one of the oldest and wealthiest land-owning families south of Pescadero….”

October 6, 1926

Coast is Mute Evidence in U.S. Liquor Landing Trial
Ranch Owner at New Year’s Point Also Links Payne to Smuggling
A plain business coat said to have been made by Joseph Parente, former tailor, constituted the most damaging evidence presented against Paul Rubio Payne, alleged liquor smuggler, at his trial in the Federal Court here yesterday on charges of conspiracy to violate the national prohibition and internal revenue laws. The coat was introduced as evidence said to have been left by Payne following the landing of 240 cases of illicit liquor at the A.S. Steele ranch, near New Year’s Point, on the night of April 25, 1924.on

Steele is owner of the ranch and a willing Government witness. He said he has been farming his place for the last twenty-five years, and during the winter of 1923-24 Payne and Thomas Murphy came to see him and made arrangements for landing contraband liquor at $1 a case.

Steele assisted in the unloading of several cargoes of liquor, he told Assistant United States Attorney Eugene D. Bennett, and each time Payne or Murphy was there to superintend the landing of the liquor. Others there at the time, said Steele, were Percy Allender, on trial with Payne and Murphy; Sidney Held and Al Schultz, the two latter of whom were killed in a hijacker’s battle in Los Angeles recently.

Steele, who proved an alert witness for the Government, on cross-examination by Attorneys Kenneth C. Gillis, Edwin McKenzie and Joseph Taaffe, said that he knew he was violating the law in allowing the landing of liquor at his ranch.

“To save my hide,” Steele admitted, “I made a statement to former Prohibition Director Rutter that my place was used as a landing port for ilicit liquor.”

Outside of the embarrassment of being arrested and later released on his own recognizance, nothing further was done toward Steele by the Government, the witness testified. Steele knew he would not be prosecuted for violating the dry law, he told McKenzie, after making his statement. It was always his impression that Payne and Murphy were partners in liquor smuggling, Steele testified, because Payne and Murphy both told him “we are partners in the business.”

The business suit coat hurriedly left behind on the night of April 25, 1924, had been worn by Paul Rubio Payne, former Prohibition agents David W. Rinckel, Gordon Lee and Isaac Henry Gory testified. All three were on the raid at the time, they said, and after confiscating some 240 cases of Canadian whiskey and arresting Allender, Held and Schultz, they picked up the coat and found the name of “Payne” stitched on an inside pocket, they said.

R.S. Love, a Government chemist, tenderly cared for two bottles of whiskey. They were samples that had been given him at the time of the Steele ranch raid. In alcohol content, Love testified, the whiskey had a potency of more than 100 proof. Defense attorneys asked Judge Kerrigan to rule out the introduction of the liquor, but the court refused.

“Such evidence does not assume part of this so-called conspiracy,” said Attorney Gillis. “We shall show,” said Assistant US Attorney Bennett for the Government, “that the two bottles offered in evidence is only a mite of the entire lot confiscated at the Steele ranch. We merely wanted to show that real liquor was being smuggled into this country.”

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