HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An illegal moonshine operation in Hancock County was uncovered Thursday by state authorities, who said it's the largest they've seen in quite some time.
The Alcohol Beverage Control, or ABC, confirms that a six-barrel still was found on Dummy Line Road off Highway 43 in the northern part of the county. The still has easily been flying under the radar of our state and state whiskey taxes. More than 80 gallons of moonshine were seized, along with six barrel of mash, which is the fermenting material used to make the alcohol.
Alcoholic Beverage Control agents spent months piecing together tips and clues that led them to this bust. ABC agent Fred Herndon said it's been a long time since an illegal operation this big was found in Mississippi.
"This is going to be your Mash buckets. It's 55 gallon drums. As you can see it's bubbling away right now. That means it's working," said Agent Fred Herndon while making his way around the still. "It's been roughly eight years since we've caught this size, which is a six barrel still," he said. "It's fairly big for these days.
It's been a busy year so far for ABC throughout the state. If you ask Herndon, he thinks part of the blame can fall on TV. "It's been coming back the last couple of years due to some TV shows. Moonshiners, that sort of stuff," said Herndon.
Herndon wants people to realize that even though these reality shows are making moonshining popular, there are legal ways to get your hands on the stuff, like going to a liquor store and he would recommend going that route.
"If you get into making it, you're going to be looking at a felony. Eventually it's just like anything else. Information is going to get out. We're going to get complaints, information, and it's not going to be a good day," said Herndon.
Herndon said the suspect has not been charged yet but once that person is, the charge will be possession of untaxed whiskey, which is a misdemeanor. However, if agents allege that the suspect owned the still, charges will be upgraded to a felony.
No one is in custody at this time. The investigation is ongoing.
ABC is the state agency responsible for regulating the legal and responsible dispensing of alcoholic beverages.