|ABC agents destroyed two 800-gallon blackpot stills|
This is one of two 800-gallon stills discovered and destroyed by ABC agents in the Penhook area Monday.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer
A Penhook man has been charged with manufacturing moonshine in two 800-gallon stills at a site in eastern Franklin County.
Ricky Nelson Matherly, 54, was arrested on the felony manufacturing charge and a misdemeanor charge for possession of untaxed alcoholic beverages (moonshine), according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
The bust took place Monday after a nine-month investigation by special agents of the ABC's Bureau of Law Enforcement.
Agents discovered and destroyed two 800-gallon operational blackpot stills. Agents also seized 1,600 gallons of mash, 182 gallons of untaxed liquor and various quantities of liquor-making supplies at the site.
Acting on a citizen's tip, ABC agents began their investigation in July 2012, and conducted months of undercover surveillance in the heavily wooded area where the illegal still operation was located, according to Valerie Hubbard with ABC.
After being charged at the Franklin County Courthouse in Rocky Mount, Matherly was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Manufacturing moonshine is a Class 6 felony, punishable by one to five years in jail, or 12 months and a $2,500 fine. Possession of moonshine is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.