November 12, 1927
Federal Agents John H. Vail and Charles E. Cass received an anonymous tip about two mysterious vessels moored off the coast of San Simeon. The agents were told that each of the ships was carrying a large supply of illegal liquor. The informant either didn’t know, or wouldn’t say, to whom the liquid holiday cheer was supposed to be delivered. Could the booze have been intended for a party at Hearst Castle hosted by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and his actress companion Marion Davies? If so, it would never arrive.
After nightfall the agents went down to the beach and hid themselves behind some boulders. Their evening’s surveillance was rewarded when they observed several shadowy figures hauling crates off of one of the ships and stacking them on the sand. Moments later, the concealed feds heard two cars roll down from the road to the waiting cargo.
The cops believed that the first car to leave the beach was meant as a decoy, and allowed it to proceed to the highway unmolested. However, before the second automobile could get very far it was overtaken by police. Inside was known bootlegger Earl Simpson with his passengers…thirty-two cases of scotch.
Simpson was arrested on the spot and taken to jail, but was soon released to an enigmatic stranger who posted the necessary $2000 ($23,964.37 USD 2007) cash bond.
The ships are believed to be on their way to San Pedro. Maybe they’ll make a successful drop this time. We hope so – holiday shopping is thirsty work.