|ABC agents destroyed two 800-gallon blackpot stills in May|
This is one of two 800-gallon stills discovered and destroyed by ABC agents in the Penhook area in May.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
A Penhook man has been indicted on one count of manufacturing moonshine in two 800-gallon stills at a site in eastern Franklin County.
Ricky Nelson Matherly, 54, was indicted on the felony manufacturing charge and two misdemeanor charges for possession of untaxed alcoholic beverages (moonshine) and possession of a distilling apparatus without a permit, according to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
Two women were also indicted in connection with the case.
Debra Nicole Walker, 36, of Rocky Mount was indicted on one felony count of manufacturing moonshine and one misdemeanor count of possession of a distilling apparatus without a permit.
Debra Adams Walker, 54, of Penhook was indicted on one count of possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a felony.
The bust took place in May 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 in Penhook. Agents also discovered 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 Senior Special Agent Bev Whitmer with the ABC Special Operations Unit.
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 and possession of a still are Class 1 misdemeanors, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. It is a determination by jurors that enough evidence exists to warrant a trial.