Sheriff's deputies seize moonshine; arrest Tennessee man
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell carries moonshine seized during a traffic stop Thursday.
In what sounds like a headline from 1951 instead of 2011, Whitley County Sheriff's deputies seized five gallons of homemade wine and 72 quarts of assorted flavors moonshine Thursday afternoon.
Deputy Todd Shelley charged Bob Crawford, 54, of Whistle Creek Road, Newcomb, Tenn., with illegal possession of an alcoholic beverage for the purpose of resale.
"Tomorrow, we will contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and see if they want to adopt the case," said Sheriff Colan Harrell.
"This is legally dry territory, so the possession of this assortment of alcoholic beverage is illegal. You can only possess alcoholic beverages for your own consumption. In federal court, it is a tax violation."
About 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Shelley was in the Black Oak community of Whitley County searching for a suspect wanted by the Jellico Police Department in an unrelated case.
Instead, Shelley observed Crawford in the roadway, and observed the moonshine through a window in the older model Chevrolet van.
"The Black Oak community is not an area where you just pass through unless you are lost. Apparently, there was a delivery involved," Harrell added.
The wine was in five separate one gallon jugs, and the moonshine was in 72 separate glass quart jars.
The moonshine was in a variety of flavors, including blackberry, pomegranate, black cherry, peach, etc.
Harrell estimates that moonshine is probably selling for $30 to $40 a quart, but he admits this is strictly a guess.
Authorities would like to know where the still is located, and think that it could be in Tennessee since that is where Crawford is from.
"He claims the moonshine came from Michigan," Harrell added. "He cooperated to the degree to tell us it was wine in the gallon jugs that is about it."
Harrell said that it has been 10 or 15 years since he last dealt with a moonshine case when he seized 350 gallons of peach moonshine in the Mud Creek community.
"That is the last big load that I saw," Harrell said. "It is kind of going out of style. We were talking about that earlier. There is a lot of work involved in making moonshine. Marijuana is easier to handle than moonshine so they converted over."
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