Agents of the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement seized 926 gallons of non-tax paid liquor, commonly known as moonshine, Wednesday.
ALE agent Bobby Crumpler said the bust was the culmination of a two-month operation including surveillance involving the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office.
The officers executed a search warrant on a residence at 1117 Shew Ridge Mission Road in Wilkesboro Wednesday. Large amounts of sugar, 926 gallons of non-tax liquor and other equipment were seized. A distillery was not located on the property.
The resident, Roger Lee Nance, 63, was issued citations for possession of non-tax liquor, possession of non-tax liquor for the purpose of selling, and possession of equipment and ingredients intended for the use of manufacturing of an alcoholic beverage. The charges are misdemeanors.
Crumpler said, if found guilty, Nance could be liable to pay taxes on the seized liquor to the N.C. Department of Revenue.
"Purchasing non-tax paid liquor is like playing Russian roulette," Crumpler said. "You don't know under what conditions it has been made. I have seen truck radiators used in the distilling process."
The safety risks for homemade liquor consumption include high lead content from the equipment used in the manufacturing proces and bacteria growth in the ingredients.
"Most illegal distillery operations are out in the woods or outbuildings without safety regulation. It is a health issue," Crumpler said.