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Franklin County stills destroyed
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This still was broken up by agents as part of a nine-month investigation in Franklin County. (Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control photo)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Penhook man has been charged and two 800-gallon operational black-pot stills have been destroyed in Franklin County as a result of a nine-month investigation.

Ricky Nelson Matherly, 54, of Penhook was arrested on a Class 6 felony charge of illegal manufacture and bottling of alcohol and a Class 1 misdemeanor charge of possession of untaxed alcoholic beverages (moonshine), according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

A nine-month investigation by special agents of the ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement culminated Monday in the discovery and destruction of the black-pot stills, the release stated.

Agents also seized 1,600 gallons of mash, 182 gallons of untaxed liquor and various quantities of liquor-making supplies at the site in eastern Franklin County, the release added.

Acting on a citizen’s tip, ABC agents began their investigation in July 2012 and conducted months of undercover surveillance in the heavily wooded area where the still operation was located, the release stated.

After being charged at the Franklin County Courthouse in Rocky Mount, Matherly was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

The Class 6 felony charge is punishable with one to five years in jail or a maximum $2,500 fine and not more than one year in jail, either or both. Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.


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