Illegal moonshine operation busted in Meriwether Co.

Published: Nov. 17, 2015 at 8:55 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2015 at 8:55 AM EST
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(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Meriwether Co. Sheriff's Office)

PINE MOUNTAIN, GA (WTVM) - On Nov. 14, patrol deputies with the Meriwether County Sheriff's Office located an illegal moonshine still at about 5:15 p.m. in the 9300 block of Chipley Hwy on State Hwy 18 in Pine Mountain, GA.

Additional investigation led to the discovery of an operational moonshine still, manufacturing products, approximately 85 gallons of illegally manufactured moonshine liquor, illegally possessed firearms, and a misdemeanor amount of marijuana.

Jerry Lee Tumlin, 65, of Pine Mountain was arrested and charged with Felony Unlawful Manufacturing of Distilled Spirits, Possession of Firearms by Convicted Felons and one misdemeanor count each of Unlawful Possession of Unstamped Distilled Spirits and Possession of Marijuana, less than an ounce.

Tumlin was released on a $12,000 bond.

Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith released the following statement regarding the bust:

"On November 14, 2015 our patrol deputies had responded to Chipley Hwy near the city limits of Pine Mountain, Ga in regard to a call for service. After they had handled the call they went back en-route to their zones of assignment.

While being in the 9300 block of Chipley Hwy the patrol supervisor observed some suspicious activity around a Commercial Propane Holding Tank.

As both units began to check out this suspicious activity that was observed they saw a small camouflage pop-up tent with a chair in it located in the wooded area behind the propane tank. During this time the patrol deputies smelled a strong sour odor.

As they checked the wooded area further they discovered an illegal moonshine still that had recently been in operation with the finished alcohol located within several containers to include a 55 gallon drum along with various buckets and jugs. The smell that the deputies observed being the fermented mash which is a bi-product of the moonshine making process.

During that time additional investigative resources were called to the scene. While on scene our patrol deputies observed through the wooded area items similar to what was located at the moonshine still site at several adjacent mobile home trailers that were in close proximity.

Two of these trailers appeared to be vacant and in partial disrepair, however one located approximately 50 yards away appeared occupied. Our Patrol Deputies went to this location and made contact with Jerry Lee Tumlin of 9378 Chipley Highway, Pine Mountain, Ga.

During this contact with Tumlin the deputies were allowed entrance into the residence. The deputies observed in plain view a small amount of marijuana in plain view within the residence along with several firearms. Tumlin gave written consent for the further search of his premises and provided statement regarding the located still.

The investigation revealed that the batch of liquor had cooked off the previous night. Information was obtained that at least a 100 gallons of moonshine liquor had recently been sold with an unknown amount being given away. The price for a gallon of moonshine liquor was given as around $40.

Our investigators along with the Georgia Department of Revenue responded to the still site to collect the samples of the finished product along with gathering other items of evidentiary value. There was sugar bags, wheat, corn, water tanks, piping, tubes, radiators, copper pipes, stainless steel containers and propane tanks located in the search area.

After the required samples were taken the Durand Volunteer Fire Department assisted in destroying the illegal still and moonshine alcohol. Deputies seized a total of 9 firearms from the residence of Tumlin along with a substantial amount of U.S. Currency that was determined to be proceeds of the illegal operation. It was also determined that Tumlin was a convicted felon.

"I appreciated the effort put forth by my patrol units in their investigation of this suspicious activity which led to this discovery. I also am appreciative for the work that was done by our investigator along with the Department of Revenue Agent that responded to assist our patrol deputies in wrapping this investigation up.

I also want to thank the members of the Durand Volunteer Fire Department that responded to assist us with the dismantling and destruction of this once operational moonshine still. This was a long night for all of us."     

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