North Carolina State Highway Patrol came across an unexpected haul when they apprehended a vehicle over the Labor Day weekend. After stopping the vehicle and looking inside the trunk, officers discovered 20 gallons (approx. 76 liters) of what they suspected to be illegal moonshine.
State Troopers stopped the driver for allegedly speeding in Cumberland County, about 70 miles south of Raleigh, reports Gazette Xtra. The trunk of the white SUV was packed with transparent alcoholic liquid in unlabeled plastic gallon jugs.
Troopers confiscated the containers, suspecting the liquid to be moonshine (a high-proof distilled spirit), which may have been produced without government authorization. They handed over all 20 gallons to North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) division, reports WLOS, for further investigation.
On Sept. 8, the NCSHP posted a photo of State Trooper C. Oxendine standing beside the 20 gallon jugs on Twitter, crediting him for the bust. Oxendine also discovered and confiscated a firearm from inside the SUV.
The driver was identified as 44-year-old Johnny Ellerbee Jr. of Virginia Beach, reports WITN. ALE charged Ellerbee with carrying a concealed firearm, transporting an illegal quantity of unauthorized liquor into the state of North Carolina, and the possession and transportation of “non-tax paid spirituous liquor.”
Ellerbee is also facing charges for the possession of alcoholic beverages with intent to sell without an ABC permit, and the Highway Patrol cited him for speeding.
Distilling alcohol at home is illegal under federal law, Legal Match states. Homemade moonshine is also regarded by many as being of inferior quality to liquor manufactured by federal standards; it is more potent, and occasionally toxic due to manufacturing shortcuts and a lack of regulation.
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