Alleged moonshiner arrested near LaGrange
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016
LaGRANGE — An alleged moonshiner was arrested Tuesday and authorities destroyed a 200-gallon distillery in a wooded area off New Hutchinson Mill Road.
Carlton Maddox, 22, of New Hutchinson Mill Road, was arrested by Troup County sheriff’s deputies and agents from the Georgia Department of Revenue at about 4 p.m. after he came to the property, which was under surveillance, according to Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff.
Maddox was charged with possession of untaxed liquor, operation of a distillery, both misdemeanors, and felony manufacturing of distilled spirits.
The distillery was estimated to be one of the largest discoveries in recent state history, according to Special Agent in Charge Robert Wood of the Department of Revenue’s Alcohol and Tobacco Division.
Two distilleries were found on the property, which belongs to the suspect’s grandfather, but one was not operational. The nonworking distillery was estimated to be about 40 years old, and the working one about 20 years old, Wood said.
“It’s a fairly large operation,” Wood said. “I’d say it could probably produce 75 to 100 gallons a day with one person running it.”
Several large metal containers filled with suspected moonshine were found in the property, some of them stashed in an old tractor-trailer near the distillery. Authorities took samples of the alleged moonshine and will send them to the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for laboratory testing, Wood said.
Authorities estimated a gallon of moonshine can sell for up to $100, but Maddox allegedly told investigators he sold gallons for $30 each.
The distillery was found Monday after a Troup County employee investigated complaints of illegal garbage dumping on the property. Investigators set up a hidden camera and returned to the property Tuesday when Maddox was spotted on video, the sheriff said.
Woodruff added he was grateful with the inter-agency cooperation and speed with which the investigation was conducted.
“I’m extremely pleased,” he said. “First off all, thanks to the county employee that called us and gave us the tip, and for my people to act so fast, to set the camera up and call the revenue department. It was a very smooth operation.”
As of press time, Maddox remained in custody at the Troup County Jail. It was unclear if he has an attorney.