August 21, 2018 11:05:01 AM
Law enforcement discovered and destroyed an illegal moonshine operation in southern Lowndes County Monday morning.
Authorities with Alcoholic Beverage Control had been investigating the case in the Plum Grove community and asked Lowndes County Sheriff's Office for help executing the warrant at a Plum Nellie Road residence, Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge said.
Authorities arrested Plum Grove resident Bernard Phinizee, 72, Arledge said, and charged him with production of moonshine after officers found a moonshine operation in the woods near Phinizee's residence. Arledge said it was one of the largest such operations he's ever seen, and that other officers at the scene -- including ABC agents who investigate it more often than county deputies -- agreed.
"I think they recovered about 12 to 15 gallons of finished moonshine," Arledge said.
He also said they found about 1,200 gallons of unfinished moonshine.
Moonshine is high-proof distilled liquor that became commonplace during Prohibition when alcohol was illegal throughout the United States. While it's not as common an operation as it was during Prohibition, Arledge said illegal moonshine production is still not unheard of.
"There's a few families around here -- I think in any county -- that did some moonshining," he said. "But I don't think there's much of it anymore."
Arledge added ABC is handling the investigation and that he wasn't sure how long the agency had been looking into Phinizee. ABC did not return a call from The Dispatch by press time.
Phinizee is currently in custody at Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.
Lowndes County Adult Detention Center did not provide a photo of the suspect by press time.
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