Moonshine still discovered at residence

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2008

MONTICELLO – The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department returnedto the old days of law enforcement Tuesday afternoon, discoveringthe first illegal moonshine still in the county in almost 30years.

Sheriff Joel Thames said he was alerted to the still by acitizen who believed it to be a meth lab.

But when he arrived at the scene, accompanied by agents from theMississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the reported meth lab was actuallyan old-fashioned still. Agents from the Mississippi Office ofAlcoholic Beverage Control were requested at the scene.

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“We went out to the residence and, sure enough, there was astill in plain view,” Thames said. “This is one of those very rarecases you don’t really hear about any more.

“We’ve heard rumors over the years, but nothing ever camethrough on them,” he said. “This is the first one in my 23-yearcareer we’ve found.”

Wednesday morning, Robert J. Davis, 26, of 300 Highway 84 East,Monticello, turned himself in to authorities. Thames and the agentshad waited for Davis to return to his home, where the still wasfound, but he never returned.

“We waited for a pretty lengthy time for him to come home, butpeople were passing by, so I felt like he had probably beennotified not to come home,” Thames said. “We went ahead andexecuted a search warrant for the residence.”

Once officers entered the home, Davis’ legal troubles worsened.Officers found and confiscated 31 marijuana plants and a number ofsmaller, freshly planted plants, as well as a large number offirearms and $472 in cash.

Davis is charged with manufacturing marijuana with the intent todistribute, while in possession of firearms; possession of anillegal distillery and possession of non-taxable liquor. Davis hasbeen released on $25,000 bond.

Thames indicated that Davis has something to learn aboutdistilling.

“I didn’t partake, but from what the ABC agents said, it wasn’tthe best stuff they’ve ever found,” Thames said.

Thames described the affair as “an interesting afternoon,”noting that none of the officers expected to discover a still. Healso pointed out the importance of tips from the community.

“We’re always appreciative of citizens keeping us informed ofany illegal activity,” he said. “The more eyes and ears you have inthe county, the better off you are.”